September 19, 2014

Prison liaison meeting brings hope for prison’s survival

MDOC Director in attendance

By Tim Barnum|News editor
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STANDISH — The monthly liaison meeting at the Standish Maximum Correctional Facility (SMF), attended by Michigan Department of Corrections (MDOC) Director Patricia Caruso and MDOC Public Information Officer Russell Marlan, has local liaisons at the meeting believing it’s more possible than ever that SMF will remain open.

“She (Caruso) spent a great deal of time talking about how the budget (for the state of Michigan) affects the prison,” said Standish City Manager Mike Moran.

“There’s some pretty positive things,” said Arenac County Commissioner Raymond Daniels, the county commissioners’ prison liaison.

“She (Caruso) got to the nitty gritty of talking about how the negotiations are going with California,” Moran, the city’s liaison at the meeting, said. He added that according to Caruso, even though the Michigan prison delegation returned from California on Thursday, the MDOC has continued to stay in close contact with California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger’s office.

According to Daniels, the meeting brought good news for concerned corrections officers at SMF who are unsure about whether or not they would have a job there if it were filled with federal or California inmates, the latter of which has been taking shape in the past few weeks.

“The people at work there (SMF) would still be working with the MDOC,” Daniels said. “For the employees, that’s pretty positive.”

“They (California DOC) would not bring their own guards. … Our people would not be replaced by California people,” Moran said.

Daniels says Caruso said that if an agreement between California and Michigan is reached, it doesn’t seem that SMF would have to worry about losing out to another in-state prison recently slated to close, since California needs to oust about 20,000 inmates due to overcrowding.

“We’re not competing with Muskegon for California (prisoners), so that’s a good thing,” Daniels said. “It seemed like from her (Caruso) thought, that it would work for Standish and Muskegon. … They’ll (California) need more than the state of Michigan.”

Daniels added that no actual date of a California corrections visit to Standish and Muskegon was announced at the meeting, but says they are expected next week.

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