The Daily Globe - Serving Gogebic, Iron and Ontonagon Counties

Graham discusses issues surrounding possible Ojibway closure

 

July 11, 2018

Jean Nordine/Daily Globe

Jeanne Graham, Gogebic Community College's dean of students, presents a power point in a public meeting providing citizens with information concerning the possible closure of the Ojibway Correctional Facility in Marenisco.

By JEAN NORDINE

jnordine@yourdailyglobe.com

Bessemer - A public meeting in the auditorium of Bessemer City Hall, concerning the possible closure of Marenisco's Ojibway Correctional Facility, drew approximately 40 people last evening.

Jeanne Graham, Gogebic Community College's dean of students, power point presentation provided statistics and information the public can use to spread the word about how detrimental the closure would be for the area.

The information shared was compiled by Graham and Eric Guenard after last years Department of Corrections budget was announced, which indicated a facility would be closing. Four prisons are being considered. The others are Newberry and two downstate.

The Newberry district already had a recent prison close, so they may escape another loss at this time.

With the DOC budget at $2 billion and inmate count the lowest it's been since 1993 (less than 40,000) it would be cost effective to the state to reduce the number of prisons. However, the closure of OCF would be devastating to the western U.P.

Closing OCF would result in 202 full time employees without a job. There is literally no way that the area can absorb that loss. People will be forced to move, school populations would decrease and the general economic impact would be tremendous.

The decision as to which prison will close will be announced in September, so time is of the essence.

State Senator Tom Casperson is meeting with Graham, Guenard and representatives from local municipalities today to discuss and form a strategy as to just what can be done to save OCF from closure.

Meanwhile the public is asked to express their concerns by contacting Heidi E. Washington, Director of the Michigan Department of Corrections @ 517-373-0720 and impress upon the DOC how damaging the closure would be to the area.

During public comment Kerry Marmozewicz' analogy put things into perspective, "downstate it's like losing a deck chair on the Titanic, but up here it's the ship going down."

 
 

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