A Michigan Sheriff Turns the County Jail into a High-Rent Hoosegow, Causing Quite a Stir
Leiber and Stoller wrote it. The King, Elvis Presley, immortalized it. But it took Sheriff William Hackel, 45, of Clinton Township, Mich. to make it a reality. "Everybody has an open house for a new building," explains Hackel. However, in Hackel's case, the new building is the ultramodern, 12-story, $27 million Macomb County jail just completed in Mount Clemens. And the modest little open house he recently held there turned out to be a charity fund raiser and surprise overnight sensation known as Slumber in the Slammer.
About 200 guests coughed up at least $50 apiece for an evening of not-so-solitary confinement. "I figured it was a good way to attract PR for the county and get people to donate money to their favorite charities," says the sheriff. The "Hackel Hilton" blowout collected $60,400, which included several large donations from local civic organizations.
Guests checked in by stripping down and donning jail-house blues and then lining up for the necessary fingerprinting and mug shots. Next, each convivial con was assigned to a 75-square-foot cell with a single bunk, suicide-proof hangers, stainless steel toilet, sink, mirror and a desk. Males and females were segregated by floors, which led to some grumbling if not a full-scale prison riot.
Though their sentence was short (12 hours), the county's guests still found cause to complain. Word-processor operator Audrey Kubicki, 38, groused, "I gave up a romantic prime-rib dinner with my boyfriend to be here." Housewife Joyce Rehberg, 45, who missed a weekend trip with her husband, said, "I gave up sex." Well, nobody ever said a night in jail—even a classy joint like this one—was meant to be good time.