Calif. backs away from Mich. prison proposal

By Chris Christoff and Kathleen Gray

LANSING, Mich. — California won't be sending its prisoners to fill the maximum-security prison in Standish, Gov. Jennifer Granholm said Tuesday.

Granholm, a Democrat, has ordered the Standish Maximum Correctional Facility closed as a cost-cutting measure, but corrections officials have sought inmates from other states to try to keep the prison open and save local jobs.

Granholm said California officials notified her Monday night that they would not pay Michigan to house its inmates because of budget constraints.

In a letter to Michigan Corrections Director Patricia Caruso, the California prison chief, Matthew Cate, said Michigan was asking for too much money and the Standish prison lacked security that California wants.

"I was very disappointed; the discussions we had were very constructive," Granholm said at a news conference. "I believe we will find another use for that facility, and keep those jobs in the area."

Granholm said that Standish still might be chosen as a place to relocate detainees from the military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, but that she has reservations about housing the detainees because of security risks.

She said she continues discussions with Pennsylvania to take some of its prisoners and with the federal government to house federal inmates.

Copyright 2009 Gannett Company, Inc.

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