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Gitmo Prisoners Could Be Headed to Michigan

Obama administration officials will tour a Michigan state prison today in the hopes of using it to hold suspected terrorists now imprisoned at Guantanamo Bay, The Associated Press reports.

Representatives of the Departments of Defense, Justice and Homeland Security are scheduled to visit the prison in Standish, Mich., which is slated to be closed soon, to consider whether the maximum-security facility could safely house detainees.

This is the second prison named as a potential site for holding Gitmo prisoners; the other is the federal penitentiary at Fort Leavenworth, Kans. If President Obama is going to be able to keep his promise to close the Guantanamo Bay prison by January, maximum security facilities in the United States are the obvious place for at least some of the prisoners to go.

Because the Standish prison employs about 340 workers, who are reportedly upset that their employer was planning to shut down, the Michigan site would have the added bonus of providing local jobs to an area that’s already suffering an unemployment rate of more than 17 percent. Nevertheless, as The Michigan Messenger reported yesterday, the proposal remains controversial among state officials.

Update: The New York Times has confirmed with a spokesperson from the Michigan governor’s office that federal officials will be touring the Standish prison site today. It’s one of eight prisons the state is considering closing due to budget cuts.

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