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article imageMichigan closing eight prison facilities by year's end

By Cynthia Trowbridge     Jun 5, 2009 in Politics
With Michigan facing a $1.4 billion deficit in the next fiscal year they are closing eight prison facilities by the end of the year. It is believed that almost 1,000 state workers will lose their jobs.
Director Patricia Caruso made the announcement today which facilities will be closed.
There are five prison camps that Michigan Department of Corrections (MDOC) ran. These five camps are to be closed thus ending MDOT's camp program. Three of these camps are in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.
They are Camp Cusino in Singleton, Camp Kitwen in Houghton County and Camp Ottawa in Iron River. The other two camps are Camp Lehman in Grayling and Camp White Lake in Oakland County. The camps are low-security prison camps.
The other three prisons are Hiawatha Correctional Facility in Kincheloe, in the Upper Peninsula, the Muskegon Correctional facility and the Maximum Correctional Facility in Standish.
Mike Prusi ( D-Ishpeming ) stated that he is upset because the UP of Michigan will be hit hard with the closing of the facilities there.
He said, “These closures are a slap in the face to communities who stepped up to the plate to accept prisons when the state was in need. I am concerned about how these closures will affect workers and their families in these communities, and I hope the Department’s Lansing bureaucracy will not be spared from the budget knife as well.”
The Standish Maximum Correctional Facility (SMF), in Standish, will have 350 employees at the prison lose their jobs.
According to Arenac County Clerk Ricky Rockwell, "Standish looked to that facility to stabilize a shaky economy in the late '80s after losing a significant employer, Riverside Products, that employed 4-500 people.”
City manager Mike Moran said in city sewer/water debt, the city will lose $1,400,000 in payments after the loss of SMF.
Standish Mayor Kevin King,"How do you close a prison that is probably one of the newest in the state? I'm kind of in shock right now."
The prison was opened in 1990.
Muskegon Correctional Facility is a medium security prison in Muskegon and has been there for thirty-five years. With the closing of this facility nearly 300 people will lose their jobs.
According to Mel Grieshaber is Executive Director of the Michigan Corrections Organization, " We have been notified that the Muskegon Correctional Facility is going to close. I think it is a big problem. Not only will officers lose many jobs, but it will effect the whole area and the whole community."
There will be 4,600 inmates relocated to other prisons. Mel Grieshaber said he is worried that many inmates will get an early release, "2,000 - 3,000 prisoners are going to walk out into the community. I would suggest to the community to lock your doors."
Muskegon County Prosecutor Tony Tague also voiced his concern, "My main concern is we will have more victims in the community. I expect to see an increase in the crime rates in each of the counties where these wholesale releases will occur."
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