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State to close Mound prison

State prison officials say Mound Correctional Facility in Detroit will close in January as part of a broader effort to cut costs by more than $60 million a year.

Mound will be the 15th correctional facility to close in about five years. The state’s prison population is down about 8,300 inmates since March of 2007.

One of the reasons Mound was chosen for closure is because there are other facilities that are relatively close by, says Michigan Department of Corrections spokesman Russ Marlan:

"If we were to pick a stand-alone, isolated correctional facility, there wouldn’t be many opportunities for employees to transfer and continue to work. "

Marlan says the local economy is also a factor, since prisons in remote parts of the state are often the single biggest employer in the area.

But some say they feel betrayed by the announcement. They say Governor Snyder had promised to keep the prison open.

"And so for me to get a surprise today that they’re going to close it was nothing short of a disappointment," said State Representative John Olumba (D-Detroit).

The department is also looking to save money through outsourcing operations at its correctional facility for inmates with mental health problems. It also hopes to privatize more of its prisoner health care and mental health services.

Sarah Hulett is Michigan Public's Director of Amplify & Longform, helping reporters to do their best work.