MUSKEGON HEIGHTS, Mich. — The Michigan Department of Corrections says it plans to close a correctional facility in March due to a decline in the state’s prison population.

The department says it notified staff members Monday at West Shoreline Correctional Facility in Muskegon Heights. The facility built in 1987 has 1,245 prisoners and 174 employees. The closing is expected to save $18.8 million in the budget.

MDOC Director Heidi Washington said in a statement the March 24 shutdown “represents a step in the right direction as we focus on giving offenders the skills they need to be successful in the community so they do not return to prison.”

The department says Michigan’s prison population dropped this year below 40,000 for the first time in more than 20 years after peaking in 2007 at 51,554.

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