Special Alternative Incarceration Facility

The Special Alternative Incarceration Facility (SAI) — formerly known as “boot camp” or “Camp Cassidy Lake” — is an alternative prison that is located in Chelsea, Michigan. It is a full-service Michigan Prison ReEntry Initiative, In-Reach Correctional Facility under the control of the Michigan Department of Corrections.

Under the administrative control of the Cooper Street Correctional Facility, the Special Alternative Incarceration program (SAI) began in 1988 as an alternative to prison for male probationers convicted of certain crimes and selected by courts.  

In 1992 the program was expanded to include both male and female prisoners and probationers. In 2014, the female population was moved to the Women's Huron Valley Correctional Facility. State law precludes participation if the inmate is convicted of a number of primarily assaultive crimes. ​

SAI is a regimented 90-day intensive program that focuses on changing negative behavior into socially acceptable behavior. The military discipline portion of the program is designed to break down streetwise attitudes, so staff can teach positive values and attitudes.  

SAI operates in three phases: Getting Ready, Going Home, and Staying Home. Participation in each phase is the result of assessing each offender’s strengths and weaknesses using the Correctional Offender Management Profiling for Alternative Sanctions (COMPAS) assessment and the Transition Accountability Plan (TAP) The Michigan Department of Corrections looks at incarceration in phases.  

From the time your family member is sentenced, the plan is to get them ready to come home.  

Phase I: Getting Ready is the time from sentence until approximately two months prior to release. Phase II: Going Home is approximately the last two months of incarceration and includes final preparations for release. Phase III: Staying Home includes the supervision phase of parole.

The Special Alternative Incarceration Program (SAI) is unique in the sense that it is a Phase I and Phase II facility. At SAI, they help with offender success by focusing on training new strategies and techniques to deal with life’s challenges and help each individual, so they can become productive members of society.  

SAI is structured similarly to military training. Participants are not referred to as prisoners they are called “trainees.” Programming promotes a healthier lifestyle and teaches better decision-making skills. The program has proven to be cost-effective and successful in keeping graduates out of prison.

SAI is a military-style boot camp program for males which involves military basic training, physical fitness and prisoner re-entry programming. As a level I facility, SAI has one 12-foot high chain-link fence with razor ribbon wire and a perimeter detection system.

Because of the rigorous nature of the SAI program and the extent to which the success of the program is dependent upon the performance of staff, it is imperative that staff, particularly custody staff, be carefully selected and appropriately trained, and that their performance be carefully evaluated. 

To achieve these objectives, the SAI program has entry-level physical conditioning standards for new corrections officers. All uniformed custody staff must complete a three-week SAI drill instructor training program.

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Visiting Hours and Rules

There are no visiting hours at Special Alternative Incarceration Facility, as it is an intense 90-day boot camp style program. Inmates are released after they complete this program..

Physical Address

Special Alternative Incarceration Facility
18901 Waterloo Rd.
Chelsea, MI 48118

Driving Directions: https://goo.gl/maps/zjrfnkAfhg1rE9cM8

General Phone Number

​(734) 475-1368

Inmate Mailing Address(es)

Inmate Name and DOC Number
Special Alternative Incarceration Facility
18901 Waterloo Rd.
Chelsea, MI 48118

All inmate mail sent to the Special Alternative Incarceration Facility must include the offender’s name and MDOC number. If you do not know this information, you can search the OTIS Database located on the MDOC’s website (www.michigan.gov/mdoc).

Prisoners may receive magazines, newspapers, and books ordered from the following Internet vendors, provided the publication is not used and is sent directly to the prisoner from the Internet vendor:

  • Amazon.com
  • BarnesandNoble.com
  • EdwardRHamilton.com and HamiltonBooks.com
  • prisonlegalnews.org/humanrightsdefensecenter.org/action/publishing/
  • Schulerbooks.com
  • Walmart.com

FFP Program

This approved customized package program allows loved ones to send authorized items to inmates once per quarter. The spend limit is $100, not including tax and shipping, per FFP order placed.

For additional information, please visit the FFP website at www.michiganpackages.com.

How to Call an Inmate

Inmates at the Special Alternative Incarceration Facility aren’t allowed to receive incoming calls, but they are allowed to make monitored outgoing calls during approved hours. For complete details on how to call an inmate in Michigan, please click here.

How to Send Money

You can send money to an inmate at Special Alternative Incarceration Facility via the GTL ConnectNetwork by using their Trust Fund service. 

You must create a ConnectNetwork account and then select Special Alternative Incarceration Facility, and your inmate before you can deposit money into the Trust Fund (commissary) account.

While using this website is the easiest and fastest way to make a Trust Fund deposit, there are several different payment options available. Note: all Trust Fund deposits are final; there are no refunds issued.

Programs For Inmates

Getting Ready (Phase I)

Phase I of the program at the Special Alternative Incarceration Facility involves a highly-disciplined regimen of 90 days that features military-style exercise, meaningful work assignments, and other programming, including secondary education and substance-abuse treatment. 

Phase I programming includes Cognitive Behavior Restructuring: Thinking Matters, Journaling and Cage Your Rage. These programs challenge the thought processes used when making decisions.  

Advanced Substance Abuse Therapy addresses addictions. Family/Community Structure:  Family Reunification Education, Family Reunification Meeting, Premarital Interpersonal Choices and Knowledge (PICK a partner), Smart Steps for Step, and In-Reach Services. 

Daily Living Skills:  General Education Diploma (GED), Computer Lab, Employee Readiness, Public Works, and Institutional Work Assignments. Self-Discipline: Interaction within a highly structured disciplined setting.  

Trainees rise at 6:00 A.M., attend programs and work assignments throughout the day and participate in physical training (exercise designed for the trainee’s physical ability). Bedtime is at 10:00 PM.  

There are no individual televisions, radios, games or other distractions that may prevent the trainees from learning and applying the skills they learn while incarcerated in the SAI Program.   Trainees are challenged mentally, emotionally and physically while at SAI.

Going Home (Phase II)

Phase II involves intensive supervision in the community, usually in a residential "halfway house" setting. Inmates are placed for up to 120 days in a residential setting or on electronic monitoring.

Staying Home (Phase III)

Phase III of the program involves supervision of offenders similar to the way in which probationers are supervised. Phase III includes a parole for 18 months or for the balance of the minimum sentence, whichever is longer. The first four months of parole are under intensive supervision, which can include daily supervision, including nights and weekends, if needed.

How the program works

Phase I and III are mandatory, and Phase II is determined by assessing a particular offender's need for residential placement. The goal of the program is to keep selected lower-risk probationers from going to prison and to take qualified prisoners out of the traditional prison setting and place them into a more cost-effective management setting. The program has proven to be cost-effective and successful in keeping graduates out of prison.

The military discipline portion of the program is designed to break down street-wise attitudes so staff can teach positive values and attitudes. Offenders take classes in job-seeking skills, substance-abuse awareness and anger management. They are also enrolled in General Educational Development preparation and Adult Basic Education.

While in post release, offenders are expected to work or go to school at least 30 hours per week. They must submit to a drug test when requested and participate in any counseling, treatment programming or training, as directed by the agent.

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Careers at Special Alternative Incarceration Facility

If you are interested in a career with the Michigan Department of Corrections at the Special Alternative Incarceration Facility, you can find job listings by clicking here