Stupak “optimistic” Standish Max will be turned into federal prison
STANDISH — U.S. Rep. Bart Stupak, speaking with assembled media outside Standish Maximum Security Prison following an Aug. 17 tour of the prison, said he is hopeful the Federal Bureau of Prisons will purchase the facility for federal use.
“No recommendation has been made,” Stupak said. “It’s very early in the process. This is a great facility. We hope the Bureau of Prisons will purchase the property.”
The prison has remained vacant since it officially closed as a state prison on Oct. 31. Earlier in the day, officials from the federal Bureau of Prisons and the Michigan Department of Corrections, as well as local officials, were slated to take a tour of the facility, according to an Aug. 16 E-mail from Nick Choate, Stupak’s legislative director.
Michigan Department of Corrections Director Patricia Caruso said the department was pleased to have a high-technology prison in Standish to offer as a potential site for a federal prison. She said she hopes the federal Bureau of Prisons will present a report on their visit in the near future.
“This is a very marketable facility,” she said. “This is not the only facility that the state of Michigan has available. We’re proud of this facility. It remains in good condition.”
Caruso said it is unlikely that the prison would return to being a state-run facility.
“We don’t have any intention of running this as a Michigan state prison,” she said.
Standish Mayor Mark Winslow acknowledged that there are members of the Standish community that are opposed to the prison becoming a federal facility, but said, in his opinion, that those people represent a minority of community members.
“I can assure you they do not speak for the majority of people in the area,” Winslow said. “Most people are in a position where they would like to see something happen.”
One person who protested outside the prison Aug. 17 was Paul Piche, who said he was a former employee of the prison for 25 years. He said he objects to a potential sale of the property to the federal government.
“It belongs to the people,” Piche said. “It was built to keep the public safe from violent offenders.”
Another person who said he is opposed to a federal purchase of the prison is Dave Munson, the owner of the Summer Trail Inn in Standish. He said it would be more efficient and less time-consuming to have Standish Max become a state prison once again.
“Everyone’s lined up with their hands out, and we’re lined up with our hands up,” he said. “My contention is that we can get back to normal in February.”
However, Stupak said he believes if the prison were to reopen, it would provide a boost to Standish and the surrounding community.
“I’m optimistic this is going to happen,” he said.