September 30, 2014

Holiday weekend brings good news for prison

Closure date pushed back to October

By John Fischer|Staff writer
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STANDISH — Original plans to close the doors of the Standish Maximum Correctional Facility on July 26 have been altered, as the Michigan Department of Corrections (MDOC) is now reporting that the prison will close on Oct. 1.

According to Michigan Correctional Organization (MCO) Legislative Liaison Jeremy Tripp, the move was essentially a switch with Hiawatha Prison, whose closure date will be moved up to July 26.

He says the decision was made in light of the ongoing negotiations with California to house some of its overcrowded prison population here in Michigan.

"The community has shown tremendous support for the Standish prison and the switch [between Standish and Hiawatha's closure dates] was made to allow California more time to come in and look over the facilities," Tripp said. He added SMF categorically fits the bill for California's needs, which require maximum security.

Tripp also warns Standish residents not to get too excited over the breaking news as Muskegon Correctional Facility, also slated to be closed soon, is also being looked at to house the possible California prisoners.

"It's all up to California," he said. "Their cost for housing a prisoner is like $47,000 to $49,000 each year; whereas it's somewhere around $34,000 for Michigan.

"It's entirely up to California [to decide] how many prisoners, if any, they want to send here. As you know they've been sending I.O.U.'s out, so they might not even have the money to send them out. We've been in discussions and the move was made to give us more time to negotiate with them."

For more details on the decision made by the MDOC, check back often.

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