The Obama administration is considering shifting detainees from the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, to locations in the U.S., including the military penitentiary at Fort Leavenworth, Kan., and a soon-to-be closed maximum-security prison in Standish, Mich.
The administration has set up a task force that is expected to make recommendations this month. The chosen site, which would serve as a courtroom-prison complex, would satisfy President Obama's desire to close the Guantanamo prison camp by Jan. 22, 2010; 229 suspected al-Qaida, Taliban and foreign fighters are being held in Guantanamo.
Standish City Manager Michael Moran says the response in his community has been positive.
"It was something that we discussed several weeks ago before we were even told about Guantanamo," Moran tells Madeleine Brand. "We had community meetings, and it was mentioned there, and I mentioned it to them as something that might be a possibility. And the reaction from the group of people that were there, as well as people who I've talked to in the street ... was very positive."
Moran acknowledges that the economic benefits for the city are enormous. If the prison were to close, the city would lose about 25 percent of its annual budget. It would also lose the tax money and other benefits from the prison's employees.
"Obviously, our retailers and our churches and our restaurants and so on are frequented by the people that work in the prison, including their families," he says. "I couldn't tell you what [the] impact on our revenue would be for that; it would be astronomical."
Moran says he doesn't think the prison would have to be altered to accommodate the Guantanamo inmates.
"We would welcome new correctional people and their families," he says. "We would presume that a lot of our people would still remain working at the prison and be retrained, certified and whatever is necessary to maintain the prison."