(11/28/12) - A closed Mid-Michigan prison may get new life, as the state looks into the possibility of privatizing some prison space.
The Standish Maximum Correctional Facility, on M-61, closed in October of 2009 because of budget cuts.
Since then, it's been pretty much vacant except for some maintenance personnel.
The federal government looked at possibly buying the prison for housing federal prisoners, but it has decided not to purchase the facility. But the state of Michigan will be releasing a request for proposal, seeking competitive bids for up to 1,750 custody beds, giving some other entity the opportunity to oversee inmates.
The state once had a prison that was run by a private company, but that ended in 2005.
"It could be a private prison company, it could be a county sheriff, it could be state employees themselves who could respond to this RFP," said Russ Marlan, Department of Corrections spokesperson.
Marlan says the Standish prison is just one facility that could potentially house inmates.
"We are looking at closed correctional facilities that we have in the state, and Standish is one of them. It's in very good shape, it's just over 20 years old, it's still in very good shape," Marlan said.
He says the bid process would have to show someone could oversee inmates cheaper and better than the state could.
"Take a look at our current per diem, our daily costs per prisoner and see how it would compare to what private companies or others would bid on housing our folks, and to see how competitive we are and see if there is anyway that someone might do it more cost effectively and provide enhance services," Marlan said.
ABC12 spoke with Standish Mayor Pro-tem Jerry Nelson about the possibility of the Standish prison reopening in this privatization fashion, and he says, as long as it opens, and people are hired, he's all for it.
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