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Michigan prison workers say escape could have been prevented

(NEWSCHANNEL 3) - Workers at Michigan prisons are calling the escape at the Ionia Correctional Facility on Sunday night a dangerous situation that could have been prevented.

Tom Tylutki, President of the Michigan Corrections Organization told Newschannel 3 on Monday night that budget cuts are threatening safety at prisons across the state.

Tylutki says that up until a year ago, an armed patrol vehicle circled the perimeter of the Ionia facility 24 hours a day.

But due to budget cuts, there are now only random patrols, when an officer has time.

Tylutki adds that six months ago, the Department of Corrections decided not to put an armed guard in the gun tower.

"This prisoner cut his way through the fence 20 feet from the gun tower," he said. "Had that officer been up there, he wouldn't have touched the fence, let alone got through it."

Tylutki says the gun tower is the first line of defense to keep contraband out of the facility, and the last line of defense to keep prisoners in.

With this information, Newschannel 3 asked Governor Rick Snyder on Monday night if he thought that budget cuts had anything to do with Elliot's escape.

Tylurki is urging citizens to press the Governor and state lawmakers for more funding for state prison facilities.