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Snyder signs bill to accept riskiest inmates

Prison fence barbed wire
Kevin Rosseel
Michigan ranks fourth in the nation for prisoner rehabilitation

Governor Rick Snyder has signed a law that will allow a private corrections company to accept inmates who've been security risks at other prisons at a facility in northern Michigan.

The Baldwin private prison – closed since 2005 – is owned by the GEO Group. The new law allows GEO's currently dormant North Lake Correctional Facility to house “level five” inmates who've been convicted of fighting and attempting to escape. 

Level five is the highest security level, and is reserved for inmates who’ve been problems while in custody. 
But a Snyder spokesman says it’s a good deal for the state and for corrections professionals in northern Michigan who are looking for work.

“Baldwin has had a prison for many years, and has people in the area who are highly skilled in working in that environment,” says Dave Murray. “This is an opportunity to create jobs, and is supported by the community. The facility is expected to have more than 100 employees to start, with more than 40 people who previously worked there.”

The company recently signed contracts with Vermont and Washington to take inmates currently housed in other states. The state Department of has said it will not send Michigan inmates to a private prison.

Rick Pluta is Senior Capitol Correspondent for the Michigan Public Radio Network. He has been covering Michigan’s Capitol, government, and politics since 1987.
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