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Mouradian confirmed that the team was not looking at any sites in the city of Pontiac at this time, but could not identify where they were looking. She said he may be looking in Macomb or other counties as well as Oakland for an initial site, but was not certain.
Prosecutor Cooper also brought up a key question. "Where is the state money coming from? There is no money. Of course you want to help troubled kids. But this is not the way," she said.
The Wolverine Campus Project included a signed letter, dated October 23, 2013, from Jeffrey Seskin of JSS Management in Plymouth, a solid waste management company, which stated that JSS Management, in partnership with its strategic equity partners, would provide Wolverine Campuses a commitment to provide matching funds with the state of Michigan of up to $4 million.
While Seskin did not return repeated calls, Russ Marlin, public information specialist for the Michigan Department of Corrections, said that "We (the state) cannot match funds. We have told them that. They need to find all of their own start up funding, self-fund the project, and then partner with the sheriff."
Unlike Oakland County and local officials, Marlin is in favor of the project, if the details can be worked out. He said he has met with Kinney and his associates several times over the past year.
"In concept, what he is trying to do is revolutionary and could be great," Marlin said.
He explained that the department of corrections is experiencing an adjustment to the type of prisoners they are receiving. "What we are seeing is a sharp increase in short-termers, those who are given two-years or less of a sentence. More than 50 percent of our intake each year are these prisoners," Marlin said. "There's a misconception that people are sentenced to long prison sentences. About 5,000 inmates per year come to prison with two years or less, and often they have spent time in a county prison for a while, so they get credit for that time, so they may only be in prison for a year or 18 months."
Marlin said that is the group that Kinney and the Wolverine Campus Project boot camp is targeting. "It's offering prosecutors, defense attorneys and judges an option, as a way to sentence them, and then move them back into society," he asserted. "If you go to prison, and let's say you had a stable home, employment – it would all be severed. You could go to a prison in the UP, for example, away from your job, your family, and all for a short term. We're really limited to what services and rehabilitation we can offer to those inmates."...continued on page 5