- Associated Press - Thursday, April 14, 2016

LANSING, Mich. (AP) - A Senate budget subcommittee has voted to close two unspecified Michigan prisons and to house some inmates in a privately owned prison instead.

The spending bill approved Thursday projects nearly $47 million in annual savings from closing two of 31 state prisons. The savings would be partially offset by $31 million a year to lease the North Lake Correctional Facility in Lake County - which is owned by the GEO Group and houses Vermont inmates - and staff it with state employees.

Michigan Department of Corrections Director Heidi Washington says the agency has taken several prison housing units offline this year. But she says closing entire prisons is a “different path” and just “one step in the (budget) process.”

Lawmakers hope to finish the next state budget in early June.

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