Michigan to California: Send us your prisoners

Financially strapped states consider a 'mutually beneficial' deal.

EMAIL  |   PRINT  |   SHARE  |   RSS
 
google my aol my msn my yahoo! netvibes
Paste this link into your favorite RSS desktop reader
See all CNNMoney.com RSS FEEDS (close)

Map
Where does your state rank?
Americans everywhere are feeling the recession's pain some more than others.
Did Bernard Madoff receive a fair sentence?
  • Yes
  • It was too harsh
  • No penalty is severe enough

CHICAGO (Reuters) -- Michigan has to close prisons to save money. California's are bursting at the seams.

Both states are struggling with huge budget gaps.

Now, Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm has offered California some of the state's prisons that are slated to close at a yet-to-be-determined cost.

In a letter Monday to California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, Granholm formally offered to house California inmates, noting their "mutual interest in resolving budget and corrections problems, perhaps in one fell swoop."

"I believe this opportunity has great potential and could be mutually beneficial at a time when states need to rely on each other like never before," Granholm, a Democrat, wrote to her Republican counterpart.

A copy of the letter was provided to Reuters.

"It would allow California to address some of its immediate needs for additional prison beds and prisoner preparation for release and would permit some of Michigan's very talented correctional and program staff to continue working as they face the likelihood of layoff," she added.

Michigan's corrections department announced earlier this month plans to close several prisons this year in order to save $120 million.

California faces lawsuits over the poor state of its prison health system, which a panel of federal judges has concluded is largely the result of state prisons filled to twice their capacity.

Schwarzenegger last week said California's state government could not afford to spend $2 billion to upgrade prison health facilities while preparing for potentially deep spending cuts to education and state health programs to help fill a $24.3 billion state budget shortfall.

Schwarzenegger's office has proposed easing prison overcrowding by transferring inmates who are undocumented immigrants to federal custody.

Prison officials in California, which already has more than 7,000 inmates housed in private correctional facilities in Arizona, Tennessee, Mississippi and Oklahoma, are intrigued by Granholm's offer, said Seth Unger, a spokesman for California's prison system.

"We are interested in exploring the possibility if Michigan can offer the same level of security at competitive cost," said Unger, adding that a team from California's prison system will travel to Michigan next month to review the offer in greater detail.

A spokeswoman for Granholm said talks about prison space began between the two states earlier this month.  To top of page

Features
They're hiring!These Fortune 100 employers have at least 350 openings each. What are they looking for in a new hire? More
If the Fortune 500 were a country...It would be the world's second-biggest economy. See how big companies' sales stack up against GDP over the past decade. More
Sponsored By:
More Galleries
Best-loved cars in America These cars and trucks topped J.D. Power's APEAL survey, which measures how much owners like their new vehicles. More
America's most powerful cars A new 'horsepower war' has erupted among U.S. automakers and these are the most potent weapons in their arsenals. More
A sampling of beers being made with traditional Latin flavors A small but growing number of craft breweries are including passion fruit, Mexican cinnamon and other traditional Latin flavors. More
Worry about the hackers you don't know 
Crime syndicates and government organizations pose a much greater cyber threat than renegade hacker groups like Anonymous. Play
GE CEO: Bringing jobs back to the U.S. 
Jeff Immelt says the U.S. is a cost competitive market for advanced manufacturing and that GE is bringing jobs back from Mexico. Play
Hamster wheel and wedgie-powered transit 
Red Bull Creation challenges hackers and engineers to invent new modes of transportation. Play

Copyright 2009 Reuters All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
Market indexes are shown in real time, except for the DJIA, which is delayed by two minutes. All times are ET. Disclaimer Morningstar: © 2014 Morningstar, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Disclaimer The Dow Jones IndexesSM are proprietary to and distributed by Dow Jones & Company, Inc. and have been licensed for use. All content of the Dow Jones IndexesSM © 2014 is proprietary to Dow Jones & Company, Inc. Chicago Mercantile Association. The market data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved. FactSet Research Systems Inc. 2014. All rights reserved. Most stock quote data provided by BATS.