Low prison population causes correctional facility shutdown - WNEM TV 5

Low prison population causes correctional facility shutdown

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Source: MDOC Source: MDOC

The Michigan Department of Corrections (MDOC) has announced that the West Shoreline Correctional Facility in Muskegon Heights will be closing in March due to a decline in prison population statewide.

All 174 staff members were notified by MDOC leadership today.

“We’re grateful for all the hard work of West Shoreline staff and will continue to support them as we wind down operations at the facility,” MDOC Director Heidi Washington said. “Closures are challenging, but this represents a step in the right direction as we focus on giving offenders the skills they need to be successful in the community so they do not return to prison.”

MDOC said it will work to absorb as many staff as possible into vacancies the department has throughout the system.

The state said in the past three years, a renewed focus on prisoner education and vocational training, combined with fewer individuals coming to and returning to prison has lead to a population decline of more than 7 percent.

In early 2018, the state’s prison population dropped to below 40,000 for the first time in more than 20 years, according to MDOC.

The prison population peaked in March 2007 at 51,554.

Since 2005, the department has closed and consolidated 26 facilities and camps, which has resulted in nearly $400 million in budget reductions.

West Shoreline’s closing is expected to save taxpayers $18.8 million in the state’s Fiscal Year 2019 budget.

Before West Shoreline, the last prison closure in Michigan was in September 2016 with the closing of the Pugsley Correctional Facility in Kingsley.

The prison, which was built in 1987, houses 1,245 secure level I prisoners.

It will close its doors on March 24, 2018.

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