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Michigan plans to reopen Hiawatha Correctional Facility

Kincheloe — The Michigan Department of Corrections plans to reopen the Hiawatha Correctional Facility after making security upgrades at the Upper Peninsula facility and to close a nearby prison.

The department determined it was less expensive to upgrade security at Hiawatha, which closed in 2009, than to make similar changes at the nearby Kinross Correctional Facility, The Evening News of Sault Ste. Marie reported.

The Hiawatha prison will take on the Kinross name when it reopens, which will likely happen in October, department spokesman Chris Gautz told The Associated Press on Tuesday. No layoffs are planned.

The idea for the changes came from the warden at Kinross, who looked at the costs, Gautz said. Kinross has a larger perimeter area to secure, meaning fencing upgrades would cost a lot more, but the department will keep the facility if needed for the future.

Infrastructure and security enhancements for Kinross were conservatively estimated at $10.6 million, department officials said, while the cost to reopen Hiawatha was estimated at less than $8 million.

Utility costs also are expected to be lower at the reopened facility, about $1 million a year compared with $1.7 million per year. The Kinross facility is a former barracks that wasn’t designed to house prisoners; the Hiawatha facility is used as a training site.

As part of the changes, officials plan to reopen two closed housing units at the Chippewa Correctional Facility, which is in the same area, Gautz said.