Tuscola Co. commissioners want elderly inmates - WNEM TV 5

Tuscola Co. commissioners want elderly inmates

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A closed down prison in Tuscola County is a perfect place for elderly prisoners. That's at least the thoughts of many Tuscola County commissioners.

The shuddered Tuscola Re-Entry Facility was shut down by the Michigan Department of Corrections last year and now sits empty. Commissioners TV5 spoke with on Wednesday night said it'd be a perfect place to shack up the old inmates.

"You'd expect it to be a lot of tough guys, but actually there's a lot of guys in wheelchairs and at the age where they're starting to need quite a bit of assistance," said Tuscola County Commissioner Craig Kirkpatrick.

According to the Michigan Department of Corrections, the number of inmates over the age of 65 has increased 78 percent in the past 10 years. The Tuscola County Board of Commissioners hopes to get some of those inmates to serve the rest of their terms here, and it's an idea MDOC is pondering.

"Of course I look at everything from the, 'Wow, this would be great for seniors' point of view, so that was one of my first thoughts, it's set up very well for that type of care," said Commissioner Christine Trisch.

Trisch is also the administrator of a local assisted living facility in the county. She said the setup at the former re-entry facility has the security and the rooms to fit the elderly prisoners' needs.

"We want to use everything we have here to bring business back into this county and bring people back into this county," said Trisch.

She said the county and the surrounding area have sufficient healthcare and hospitals to help meet the demands of an assisted living inmate facility.

The idea is already gaining traction with business owners like Rick Wood, who owns Woody'zzz Motel in Caro.

"Family members stopping here, lawyers, any business would be good that goes along with that," said Wood.

This idea is in its infancy at the county and state level. Commissioners sent paperwork to both state Sen. Mike Green, R-Mayville, and Rep. Terry Brown, D-Pigeon, as well as the Department of Corrections.

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