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Cops, citizens say prison closing plan is dangerous

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  • Charles C. Primas
    Cops, citizens say prison closing plan is dangerous Gary Heinlein / Detroit News Lansing Bureau
    Message 1 of 1 , Mar 1, 2007
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      Cops, citizens say prison closing plan is dangerous

      Gary Heinlein / Detroit News Lansing Bureau


      JACKSON -- Law enforcement officials and area citizens today vehemently
      opposed plans to shutter the 1,500-bed Southern Michigan Correctional
      Facility, predicting the cost-saving maneuver will endanger public safety.

      An estimated 200-250 people crowded into a Senate subcommittee hearing at
      Jackson Community College, some with tragic stories of loved ones murdered
      by imprisoned killers, to speak against the plan.

      Gov. Jennifer Granholm has ordered the prison closed by July--part of a
      strategy to mothball correctional facilities and release 5,500 inmates who
      officials say are old, sick or not a danger to society.

      An estimated 425-465 Jackson-area workers will be out of a job when the
      prison closes.

      "Isn't it better to advocate a sales tax increase than to release inmates?"
      asked Jim McDonough of Napoleon, whose sister was murdered in 2004.

      Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Wayne Kuypers, R-Holland, said lawmakers
      "want to do all we can to keep that prison open."

      But state corrections officials say it's a done deal -- that they do not
      need legislative approval to close institutions. Corrections spokesman Russ
      Marlan said the decision is final and is part of the state's effort to
      reduce corrections spending by $92 million. Michigan faces a budget deficit
      of more than $1 billion this year and next.

      Jackson County Sheriff Dan Heyns called the plan a "dangerous, ill-advised
      and budget-driven policy that is being exercised at the expense of public

      "There is an ocean of distrust between local units of government and the
      state of Michigan," he said.

      You can reach Gary Heinlein at (517) 371-3660 or gheinlein@....


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