TO READ THE FULL REPORT:
The Citizens Alliance on Prisons & Public Spending (CAPPS) has released Corrections spending reflects major policy choices: Examining the consequences, a white paper examining proposed Michigan Department of Corrections (MDOC) budgets. The paper examines the consequences of five major policy choices reflected in the budgets proposed for corrections Fiscal Year 2015 by the Executive office, the House, and the Senate. Those policies include:
- Housing MDOC prisoners in jail beds leased from counties;
- Capping the number of MDOC beds;
- Incarcerating parolees whose paroles have not been revoked;
- Spending less on community-based programs, most notably prisoner re-entry;
- Caring for high-cost, low-risk elderly and/or medically fragile prisoners.
As Barbara Levine, CAPPS associate director for policy and research and author of this report, states, “Spending decisions are inevitably policy decisions. What gets cut, what gets preserved and the extent to which resources are shifted from one area to another reveal decision-makers’ policy priorities. Efforts to at least contain, if not reduce, the $2 billion budget of the Michigan Department of Corrections have produced many such choices, ranging from staff reductions to new limits on prisoner food and clothing.” The MDOC budget consumes a larger share of General Fund/General Purpose tax dollars than any other area of the budget in Michigan. CAPPS has proposed recommendations that could safely reduce the prison population and potentially save hundreds of millions of tax dollars.