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Hearing over prison escape in Ionia Co.

LANSING, Mich. (NEWSCHANNEL 3) - How exactly was convicted murderer Michael Elliot able to escape from the Ionia prison? That's the question the Senate Subcommittee on Corrections tried to answer Thursday morning.

Dan Heyns, the Director of the Department of Corrections took questions from senators Thursday morning.

Heyns was a very careful about giving details. He says their internal investigation is nearly complete but he's waiting for the Attorney General to finish his before they will release any of the specifics.

Heyns says staffing and equipment were all at appropriate levels, but says it was practices and procedures that were not followed.

We know two employees have been suspended, but according to the director, this escape had absolutely nothing to do with budget cuts.

"That's an easy answer for people who want to armchair quarterback this. It's important to note that the budget at that institution has not been reduced, in fact in the last 3 years its risen several million dollars," said Heyns.

Despite that, democrats are quick to point out that millions of dollars was cut from prison security in 2013. They want to see this investigation taken out of the hands of elected officials.

House democrats are calling for an independent investigation. They say that's the only way to get to the root of the problem and really figure out what happened here.