MDOC Races to Shut Jackson County Prison

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An appeal was filed last Thursday following a ruling earlier this month delaying the closure. A decision is expected mid-June.

That decision will ultimately determine if the state will install expensive air conditioning at the prison it's trying to close. The same Federal Judge who rejected the state's shutdown plan ordered air conditioning at the Southern Michigan Correctional Facility and the Egeler Reception and Guidance Center. That order stems from a lawsuit claiming inadequate medical and mental health care of prisoners at the Southern Michigan Correctional Facility.

Friday, the state submitted its cooling plan. If approved, it would cost about $800,000 to install temporary air conditioning at Southern Michigan and another $400,000 to bring in two cool domes, basically portable, air conditioned tents, for the Egeler Facility. An appeal has been filed for the air conditioning order too. That decision isn't expected until mid-summer or early fall. If the prison stays open, air conditioning must be installed by July 15.

Meantime, plans are moving forward to close the prison. Prisoners are being evaluated for placement elsewhere, school programs will cease June 22, no additional inventory will be purchased for the prisoner store and some cell furnishings and equipment have been dismantled for use elsewhere.

The state estimates shutting down the Jackson County Prison would save about $35 million a year.

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