U.S. Officials Visit Shuttered Standish Max Again 8-17-2010 - WNEM TV 5

U.S. Officials Visit Shuttered Standish Max Again 8-17-2010

Federal and state prison officials began arriving at the Standish prison early Tuesday morning. They're looking to see if it could be used to house inmates from other out-of-state prisons.
They were greeted by protesters who said they want the now closed state prison to reopen as a state operated prison, not as a federally run facility.
"Eventually, with the prisoners coming back into the system that the governor has let out, we're going to have to build another prison if we sell this one, and its going to be a much more expensive that what the original $48 million was," said prison guard Paul Piche.
But state prison officials said that isn't true. "Our [prison] population [for] the last three years has dropped by more than 7,300 prisoners," said Patricia Caruso, director of Michigan Department of Corrections. "In the last year, we've closed 10 facilities. This is one of 10 facilities we've closed [and] it’s a very marketable facility."
For the second time in a year, federal prison officials took a tour of the location. TV5 was told by state officials that the feds were impressed.
Local business owners said that's good news, as business took a dive when the state shuttered the maximum security facility last October. Business owners said reopening the prison would bring business back.
"We hope that the prison reopens so that there's more jobs that stay here for the people that live here, and that businesses around here will benefit," said Nancy Whitson, with Kitzman Florist.
State officials said a federally-operated facility would do just that.
"If the Bureau of Prisons were to come in, especially if they were to expand the facility, we would be looking at more jobs than we had when we were here. There would be people moving into this community, buying homes, entering the school system and paying taxes here," said Caruso.
State prison officials also said they're still in the early stages of negotiations.
No price has been discussed and it could take until the end of the year before a final decision is made.
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