Michigan officials said Friday that the state is closing three prisons and five prison camps in hopes of narrowing a $1.4 billion budget gap for fiscal 2010.
The state, which has been hammered by the auto industry meltdown, estimates that it will save $120 million by shuttering the eight facilities. None of the 4,149 prisoners in the facilities will be released early, but up to 1,000 workers may lose their jobs.
Michigan is not alone in turning to its prison system for savings. Some 25 states cut spending on corrections in fiscal 2009 and another 25 are proposing to do so in fiscal 2010, as they struggle to address massive budget shortfalls.
"It's a trend we'll be seeing more and more of in coming months given the dire revenue situation states are in," said Sujit CanagaRetna, senior fiscal analyst at the Council of State Governments, a research group.