Twenty-seven Michigan prisons will implement a new system of perimeter patrol come April 1, according to an article from The Daily Telegram.
Aiming to save on security costs, vehicles will be driven around the perimeters of prisons at random, using corrections officers who are also assigned to jobs within the facility, the article said.
According to Russ Marlan, a spokesman for the Michigan Department of Corrections, this switch will allow the department to eliminate five positions at each prison, saving the department $13.2 million each year, the article says. Any officers currently staffing the vehicles will be shifted over to positions that are now being staffed on overtime, and the department has hundreds of positions open, says Marlan.
"We've made some technical improvements so we can move (corrections officers) around and not jeopardize the safety of the facility," Marlan said in the article. The security improvements mentioned include non-lethal, electric "stun" fences and motion sensors.
Currently, a vehicle with an armed corrections officer is driven around the perimeter of the prisons 24 hours a day, not only to prevent escapes, but also to keep people on the outside from throwing contraband over the prison wall, says Mel Grieshaber, executive director of the Michigan Corrections Organization. Members of the MCO are not pleased about the change, despite the fact that there will be no layoffs, according to the article.
Broadly, Grieshaber says that the corrections officers believe more officers equate to more safety, as the new system will require more time for an officer to suit up, get a weapon and arrive at the scene of the problem.