First two of four Bridge Magazine articles on Michigan’s corrections spending

By Ted Roelofs | Bridge Magazine | | April 15, 2014

Conservatives seek to lead on prison reform

At first blush, the Midland-based Mackinac Center for Public Policy, a conservative think tank, might seem an unlikely cheerleader for prison reform.

Michael LaFaive, a fiscal analyst for the Mackinac Center, reaches back four decades for an analogy about what he sees happening on the political right.

“They said only Nixon can go to the China,” LaFaive said, referring to the 1972 diplomatic trip by President Richard Nixon. It was thought by many only a Republican president could broach new relations with the communist nation without incurring a political backlash.

“This could be a similar case.”

LaFaive, like a growing number of conservative thinkers, is convinced old truisms about crime and punishment deserve re-examination. Does it makes sense to lock up as many people as Michigan does?

“Michigan spends way too much on prisons. There are much less expensive ways of imposing punishment on bad people and making the streets safer than we are doing now,” LaFaive said.

Read>> Conservatives seek to lead on prison reform


Texas conservatives to Michigan: Cut prisons now

Guest Column by Derek Cohen and Marc Levin | Bridge Magazine | April 15, 2014

Texas has shed its “throw-away-the-key” mantra for nonviolent offenders. Seven years ago, it invested in drug courts and community monitoring for low-level offenders. The result: crime is way down, so is recidivism. And the state has saved billions in prison costs.

Read>> Texas conservatives to Michigan: Cut prisons now