CAPPS Consensus, Spring 2012

The FY 2013 budgets proposed for the MDOC by the Executive, the Senate and the House, although different in significant ways, are all efforts to address the question: Why, with fewer facilities and nearly 8,000 fewer prisoners, do we still have a budget of $2 billion? It is not that reducing the population doesn’t save money. Closing nine prisons and eight camps since Jan. 2007 yielded net savings of at least $275 million, despite the opening of two other facilities. The problem is these savings have been offset by increases in other costs, primarily employee wages, employee and retiree benefits and prisoner health care.

Today’s MDOC budget is the legacy of decades of “get tough” policies. In the seven years from 1978-1984, before the first big wave of prison expansion, our prisoner population averaged 14,904, going up and down each year by only a few hundred prisoners. The number of MDOC employees averaged 5,497. Today, those numbers have nearly tripled – with 43,661 prisoners and 13,728 employees. In between, the prisoner population spiked to roughly 51,000 and the number of employees reached nearly 19,000.

Read>> CAPPS Consensus Spring 2012