Lawmakers Question if Prison Cuts Factored in Escape

LANSING, Mich. (AP) -- Some Michigan lawmakers are questioning whether security cutbacks and the recent privatization of prison food service factored into a killer's escape from an Ionia prison.

Democratic Sen. Glenn Anderson of Westland said Tuesday it was "foolish" for Michigan to scale back perimeter patrols and eliminate manned gun towers in recent years to save money. Officials say Michael David Elliot escaped Sunday through fences equipped with motion sensors and electric current before being captured in Indiana.

Anderson says security is weaker since majority Republicans handed food service operations over to a private contractor. Elliot escaped wearing a white kitchen uniform but didn't work in the kitchen.

The Michigan Corrections Department says cutbacks didn't factor into the escape. But Democratic House Leader Tim Greimel says cutting perimeter security doesn't keep citizens safe.

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