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May 2, 2008

Examining prison costs in Michigan

This story from the Detroit News, headlined "Prison costs on agenda: Experts to discuss reforms to help state handle Corrections spending," highlights why Michigan and so many other states have to think seriously about prison costs (even if courts aren't supposed to give these issues any thought).  Here are snippets:

Policymakers say continued growth of Michigan's sprawling, $2-billion-a-year prison system is unsustainable when the state is struggling to pay for such priorities as education, health care and police.  Some of the top thinkers regarding Corrections strategies are convening in the capital today to discuss reforms that could help the state get a handle on prison spending without compromising public safety....

The conference comes on the heels of a Detroit News series that outlined the dramatic growth of the prison system and its impact on other government services. The two-part series, which ran April 14-15 found:

  • The 50,200 inmates in Michigan prisons represent a four-fold increase in the number of prisoners over a quarter-century.
  • It costs an average of $200 a year for each Michigan resident to support the prisons.
  • The cost to house each inmate drains $31,325 annually from the state treasury.
  • Michigan is one of four states that spend more on corrections than on higher education.
  • One of every three state employees works in the Corrections Department, up from one in 10, 25 years ago.
  • While prison costs soar, revenue sharing to local units of government has been slashed by $3 billion over the last six state budget years, resulting in 1,800 fewer police officers and 2,500 fewer firefighters.
  • Without corrective action, the prison population will swell by another 12 percent and top 56,000 within five years.

"Our efforts to grow Michigan's economy and keep our state competitive are threatened by the rising costs in the Department of Corrections," Gov. Jennifer Granholm told The Detroit News for its series.

May 2, 2008 at 09:05 AM | Permalink


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But what will be the costs of more lenient policies. Of course, Ms. Granholm could save the taxpayers some money by pardoning the woman who escaped 32 years ago for a drug offense. The woman should do some time before such pardon, though.

Posted by: federalist | May 2, 2008 10:33:58 AM

I think government should find an alternative so as to mantain balance between different sectors

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Posted by: Jeff | May 3, 2008 7:24:37 AM

There is a need for prisons for violent crimes. The guidelines for Michigan should have to be gone by and no judge should have the power to go outside of the guideline for such bs as the man thinks he is above and beyond the law and a menace to society. My husband took a plea and should have gotten seven months jail time and he got 17 months to four years prison term. The reasons for the judge to go out side the guidelines were not appeling reasons but never the less it was done. The appeal was denied for lack of merit. My husband is a honest no threat to society and has never been in trouble with the law. He will be seventy this year and I will be sixty five and let me tell everyone we are no threat to society not now not ever!!!!! I hate the so called justice system. This was a get even with us from family relatives that were jealous of us and the system should have viewed this as such. My husband will have been in prison for two years come Jan. 2009. We have been
together for almost fifty years and have never been apart til now the justice sysem stinks and the people who have the authority to change things and don't. Thanks for letting me vent!!! no one cares and no one will listen, Judgement day will come to all.

Posted by: Virginia Decker | Jul 31, 2008 11:52:40 AM

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