June 01, 1987 12:00 PM

The warden threw a party in the county jail.—Jailhouse Rock

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.

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