Pennsylvania will pay $62 per prisoner per day to send 1,000 surplus inmates to the Muskegon Correctional Facility in Michigan, and another 1,000 to Green Rock Correctional Center in Chatham, Va., to relieve prison overcrowding, state corrections spokeswoman Susan McNaughton told me.

The price pays for security, medical care and transportation. Who's going? Mostly, medium-security inmates "who receive few if any visits; who have no medical or mental health issues; all male; and have at least three years on their sentences," so they can return to Pennsylvania for "re-entry programming," she said. "Capital inmates, lifers, are not eligible." Pennsylvania will send a state employee to each prison.

The Muskegeon prison had been scheduled to close. State officials there and in Virginia had no immediate comment on whether they were keeping unused prisons open just to preserve jobs during a recession.