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Heating issues at Wayne County Jail left people cold as temperatures dipped

A growing number of women are incarcerated in the U.S. and many of them give birth in prison or jail.
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People detained at the Wayne County Jail say one of the buildings had issues with heating last weekend.

Sources detained in the jail say temperatures began to drop on Friday and the Division 2 jail building stayed cold through Monday.

Walter Galloway has been detained in the jail awaiting trial for three years and nine months.

"And it's a very cruel and unusual situation when you can barely stay warm," Galloway said. "You know, you're scared to jump in the shower because you don't want to catch pneumonia, you know? So it's going to be it's a hard thing."

Edward Foxworth is a spokesperson for the Sheriff's Office. He says it wasn't that the heat was off entirely.

"What we are dealing with is a 95-year-old building," Foxworth said. "That old furnace really needs significant upgrades and software now to be able to manage."

Foxworth says the jail is working to bring its heating system up to speed to get through what he expects will be one last winter in the old buildings, before moving to a new facility over the summer.

Meanwhile, temperatures are expected to be in the single-digits Friday and Saturday.

Beenish Ahmed is Michigan Radio's Criminal Justice reporter. Since 2016, she has been a reporter for WNYC Public Radio in New York and also a freelance journalist. Her stories have appeared on NPR, as well as in The New Yorker, Harper’s, The Atlantic, VICE and The Daily Beast. Additionally, Beenish spent two years in Islamabad, Pakistan, working with the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting, covering the country’s first democratic transition of power as well as Pakistan's education system.