November 27, 2014

MDOC's letter to Pennsylvania regarding PA inmates in Standish Max

Posted
Following is the Michigan Department of Corrections' letter to the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections in its entirety. Standish max is mentioned in paragraph three.

Secretary Jeffrey A. Beard
Department of Corrections
Commonwealth of Pennsylvania
P.O. Box 598
Camp Hill, PA 17001-0598

Dear Secretary Beard:

Thank you for your recent letter asking for the Michigan Department of Corrections’ (MI DOC) proposal on housing Pennsylvania Department of Corrections’ (PA DOC) prisoners in Michigan through an Inmate Transfer Agreement. Michigan would be very interested in pursuing such an opportunity and attached please find our proposal detailing the rates, capacities and services available.

We currently have two prisons that may be of particular interest and would be a good fit for the approximately 1,000-1,500 prisoners the PA DOC is looking to transfer.

We will soon be closing the Standish Maximum Correctional Facility, a maximum-security prison which houses 604 prisoners. It is located just off Interstate 75 north of Saginaw in Standish, Michigan, in proximity to airports. The facility opened in 1990 and is in excellent condition. While this is mostly a single-cell facility (one housing unit was double bunked), it could easily be reconfigured to a lower security level and be double bunked.

We will also soon be closing the Muskegon Correctional Facility, a medium-security prison which houses 1,326 prisoners. It is located off U.S. 31 in Muskegon, Michigan, and in proximity to airports. The facility opened in 1974 and is also in excellent operating condition.

Currently both of these facilities are fully staffed with highly trained, professional, hard-working, knowledgeable and responsible correctional employees. Our correctional staff is second to none in the nation.

The reason we have facilities available for potential use by the PA DOC is due to the decline in our population. For the past several years, the MI DOC has been closing prisons as the prison population drops. We are experiencing a decline for several reasons including:

• Prison intake was down 9% in 2008 and is down 8% through August of 2009.

• Total felony court dispositions have declined for the second straight year, following eight straight years of growth. Felony court dispositions across the entire state of Michigan decreased by almost 4% in 2008 and have decreased by another 6.3% in 2009 through June.

• In 2008, the Michigan Prisoner ReEntry Initiative (MPRI) went statewide and expanded to 18 regional sites that now cover all 83 counties. The preliminary data for the first 13,000 former prisoners worked with shows that the return to prison rate has improved from 1 out of 2 returning within two years to 1 out of 3 returning in two years.

• Due to the success of MPRI, the rate of prisoners paroled is up and parole failures are down.

• With prison intake down, the parole rate up and parole failures reduced, Michigan’s prison population is at its lowest level in eight years.

I believe this opportunity has tremendous potential and could be mutually beneficial to both our states. It would allow Pennsylvania to address its immediate need for additional prison beds and let some of Michigan’s experienced and accomplished correctional staff continues working as they face the likelihood of layoff. In addition, the fact that we now share the same prisoner health care provider could help ease any potential concerns associated with this very important area of effective prisoner management.

I am confident we can provide a safe and secure environment for Pennsylvania prisoners and do so in a very competitive and cost-effective manner. In addition, we can assist you in creating safer communities in Pennsylvania by applying the principles of our successful prisoner reentry program and help your inmates return home and become productive citizens.

Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any additional questions or concerns. I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Thank you.

Sincerely,

Patricia L. Caruso, Director
Michigan Department of Corrections

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