October 21st, 2009
04:31 PM ET

Transfer Gitmo detainees to Michigan maximum security prison?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

One of the first things Barack Obama did as president was promise to close the Guantanamo Bay prison by January 2010. With three months to go, here's a suggestion: The city council of Standish, Michigan has voted unanimously for a resolution that would move forward with the idea of transferring the Gitmo detainees to Standish Maximum Correctional Facility.

U.S. troopers are pictured inside an exercise yard at Guantanamo Bay U.S. Naval Base.

The state prison is scheduled to be shut down at the end of this month due to budget cuts; and officials are worried what the closure and lost jobs could do to the local economy.

The 19-year-old prison can hold up to 600 inmates. It's surrounded by 16-foot fences that are topped with razor wire and is monitored by five gun towers that overlook the interior and provide perimeter security.

This is a large maximum-security prison in very good condition and far from a major city. Should be perfect. Standish officials hope the move could bring as many as 600 new military and civilian jobs. And they sure could use those jobs in Michigan these days.

The state's governor and both U.S. senators are open to the idea as long as security concerns are addressed. Local officials say they expect to hear from the federal government in the next few weeks.

Meanwhile - as the January deadline ticks closer... the commander of Gitmo says he could clear all 200-plus prisoners with just 10 days notice from the White House.

Here’s my question to you: Should the U.S. transfer Gitmo detainees to a Michigan maximum security prison?

Tune in to the Situation Room at 6pm to see if Jack reads your answer on air.

And, we love to know where you’re writing from, so please include your city and state with your comment.

Filed under: Guantanamo Bay
soundoff (34 Responses)
  1. Russ in PA

    If you're not going to give them a trial after all this time, then let them loose. Preferably in DC...

    October 21, 2009 at 1:50 pm |
  2. cy

    I live one town over from Alexandria, Va where one Mr. Z. Moussaui (SIC?) was held, tried and convicted for being the "19th hijacker" before being shipped off to a Supermax prison in Colorado. What's the big deal??? cy gardner, arlington, va

    October 21, 2009 at 1:52 pm |
  3. JENNA

    Should the U.S. transfer Gitmo detainees to a Michigan maximum security prison?

    Only those who have been tried and convicted. All the rest should be returned to the country they were taken from.

    Roseville CA

    October 21, 2009 at 1:54 pm |
  4. KL

    Frankly, I don't care if they are moved to a maximum security prison. What I care about is them getting criminal trial at tax payers exspense. Then they'll sue the tax payers if found not guilty by a simpathetic jury. They were captured during war and should not be part of our legal process for citizens.

    October 21, 2009 at 1:56 pm |
  5. Jane (Minnesota)

    Only the ones that can be charged with crimes – the rest shouldn't really be detained at all. Thanks a lot for the baggage, Dick & George!

    October 21, 2009 at 1:57 pm |
  6. John from Alabama

    Jack: If the maxium security prison is a federal prison in Michigan the answer is yes. Let's do this an get it over with now. GITMO is an eye sore for this nation. It smells bad for this nation and its citizens. We have prisons, guards, and a system of justice in this great nation. Can we at least allow them to do what they were built for, please.

    October 21, 2009 at 2:02 pm |
  7. BOB WHITE, Kansas

    Works for me! I do not understand why states who want to take such prisoners and who have the facilities to hold and protect them should not be allowed to help resolve this issue. I understand that several states have asked for such opportunity and service to the nation. And they get paid, right? Jobs.

    October 21, 2009 at 2:03 pm |
  8. Ray Kinserlow

    Shut Gitmo down, now!

    Ray Kinserlow
    Lubbock, Texas

    October 21, 2009 at 2:09 pm |
  9. Christian the Great

    The old saying is "keep your friends close, and your enemies closer". Transfering the Gitmo detainees to Michigan would be pretty close. As long they don't bring to Louisiana, we're cool Jack.

    October 21, 2009 at 2:11 pm |
  10. Charles, Lansing, MI

    Absolutely. Michigan needs the money. The government never locates any other federal facilities here so the least it couold do is give us its prisoners.

    October 21, 2009 at 2:11 pm |
  11. Jack Carlson

    Why not? Then these gutter people can indoctrinate those in the prisons – enuf damage has already been down with the few in prison indoctrinating so called American Terrorists...actually Muslim but say they are American.
    I said this would happen 12 yrs ago and it is becoming the case.
    This ADM has a goal & if we knew all of the agenda we might lose our lunch.
    Jack C

    October 21, 2009 at 2:15 pm |
  12. Tom in Desoto, Tx

    They never belonged in Gitmo. I think they should be transfered, half near George W Bush's home, the other help near Dick Cheney's.

    October 21, 2009 at 2:15 pm |
  13. Dr. Smith, Pratt City, MI

    No, Jack.

    Jack, . . . did they ever find out if there was water on the moon when they
    blasted it the other day?

    They could always use Falcon's flying saucer to ship the detainees along
    with the republicans to test and see of its livable up there.

    Doc. Smitty
    Michigan proper

    October 21, 2009 at 2:17 pm |
  14. Cheryl

    Yes. Don't we have the Unibomber there? These guys are not going to be able to get out.

    October 21, 2009 at 2:17 pm |
  15. CJ in Atlanta

    I hear GM has some empty office space in Michigan. Can that be coverted to prison cells?

    October 21, 2009 at 2:20 pm |
  16. Larry from Georgetown, Tx

    Sure Jack, and the sooner the better. It will create jobs, which by the way adds to the tax base and then there will be more troops available to ship over to Iraq and Afghanistan to die in the name of democracy or peace.

    October 21, 2009 at 2:21 pm |
  17. Jack Kramer in California

    I am not sure this is a good idea. I do not fear the prisoners escaping, but there may be legal ramifications to bringing them to the US. Will these inmates be intitled to get trials in regular civilian courts with the same rules of evidence, etc.? This could get dicey with intelligence issues. These people were not "arrested" like normal criminals by police in squad cars on the US streets. Many were captured on the battlefield by soldiers. It sounds nice to close Gitmo, but the realities may be more complicated. That is why Obama has not been able to close it down already. If it was simple, he could have done it within a week.

    October 21, 2009 at 2:22 pm |
  18. Alex from TX by way of AR

    I could care less about where they are put. What's more important is that all detainees should have their rights honored. I know some have committed terrible act, but that doesn't not mean they should be denied due process.

    October 21, 2009 at 2:24 pm |
  19. Jay

    Only if they force the detainees to attend every Lions home game. Now there's a punishment.

    October 21, 2009 at 2:25 pm |
  20. JD In NH

    This is a great idea! Talk about killing 2 birds with 1 stone. Gitmo is closed and jobs are created where they are needed most. Now we only need to convince the paranoids that the terrorists will not be roaming around their neighborhoods.

    October 21, 2009 at 2:34 pm |
  21. Tom from Philly

    Michigan, hmm. Well its most americans dream to send these peole to hell, so why not hell on earth? With all the bush war crimes, why didnt they just make sure these guys 'died in battle' good grief charlie brown

    October 21, 2009 at 2:34 pm |
  22. Jackie in Dallas

    Each case needs a judicial review, Jack, before that question can be answered honestly.

    First, those cases found to pose a real threat should then be tried in a federal jurisdiction court, and if found guilty, sentenced to a maximum security facility. Leavenworth might be a good place, since that is a military prison. Second, those cases that do not pose a threat should be sent home, period. Third, some cases need to be tried by international courts, and the evidence, person, and case should be passed to the international court in The Haag.

    October 21, 2009 at 2:36 pm |
  23. Ray Lawson from Danville, VA


    October 21, 2009 at 2:43 pm |
  24. Judy S.

    I don't understand what the big deal is about.
    These guys aren't going anywhere once they're detained in a maximum security prison.

    October 21, 2009 at 2:44 pm |
  25. Randy from Salt Lake City

    No. Since there has been no proof whatsoever that any of these individuals have done anything wrong, they should be set free with appologies and millions of dollars from the pockets of congresscritters who've profited from the US's wars of aggression.

    October 21, 2009 at 2:45 pm |
  26. Mike, Syracuse, NY

    Absolutely Jack. However the transfer should occur by unpiloted drone aircraft with just enough fuel to get half way there.

    October 21, 2009 at 2:47 pm |
  27. Jeff in Houston, Texas

    I think there are a number of communties that would welcome the jobs. Maybe I am missing something. i jsut do nto see what the problem is here, unless having them on American soil means we have to start keeping out word and treating them like human beings.

    October 21, 2009 at 2:48 pm |
  28. Adam Simi Valley, CA

    i guess, as long as they are in General Pop, I am OK with it. If these liberals want to voluntarily bring terrorists INTO the United States and afford them the same rights as our citizens, then I want them to experience what it is really like in an American prison. I don't want them to be coddled in some isolation area to live out their remaining years.

    October 21, 2009 at 2:52 pm |
  29. Ken DE

    Yes the federal government should transfer prisoners to a maximum security in michigan or any other maximum security prison it chooses and stop listening to all the whining. The federal marshals transfer federal prisoners on commercial airlines everyday. In spite of all the anti-government rhetoric federal marshals are capable of transfering prisoners and keeping prisoners in a maximum security prison. I am suprised people are not more concerned about the 10,000 nuclear weapons we currently are storing rather than a handful of detainees who have not been charged with any crime.

    October 21, 2009 at 2:52 pm |
  30. Tina Tx

    Sounds like a plan to me and retrain some of the auto workers to become prison guards.

    October 21, 2009 at 2:55 pm |
  31. Ken M, Millington MI.

    Hello Jack. Well i live in Michigan and i know that area (Standish Mi) well we travel that area quite frequently . There is no doubt in my mind that the maximum security prison in Standish could handle the most difficult of Gitmo Detainees. The staff is and would be hard working and professional. The transfer of detainees would also keep jobs and generate much needed revenue to the area. The people of Standish and local prison officials are 100% behind the transfer. Michigan can not afford to lose any more jobs so lets get it moving and keep Michiganders working. Plus it would send a good example to the world that we will do our part in closing Gitmo and sharing the burden of housing exrtreme terrorist.

    October 21, 2009 at 3:04 pm |
  32. Richard, Syracuse, NY

    YES.....This country already has Terrorists in our US Prisons and NOT ONE has every escaped from our Prisons. The only reason there is a problem transfering the Terrorists is the Republican Party trying to make brownie points out of the issue.

    October 21, 2009 at 3:05 pm |
  33. Jamie in St. Louis

    They should leave them right where they are. Gitmo is the perfect place for them to be and it was a completely political decision to try and close it. I wouldn't want them in Missouri and I hope they aren't able to indoctrinate other inmates.

    October 21, 2009 at 3:07 pm |
  34. Dave, Brooklyn, NY

    I thought that was what was supposed to happen. What’s the alternative – let them all go?

    October 21, 2009 at 3:11 pm |