June 27, 2014   |  Lansing State Journal

Note: CAPPS op ed, below

Because “Michigan’s criminal justice system continues to strain the state’s budget and its spending on corrections is higher than many other states,” The June 27, 2014  Greater Lansing Outlook section of the Lansing State Journal looked at “research into sentencing guidelines and other practices that may produce better results and lower costs.”  The following op eds, including one by Barbara Levine, CAPPS associate director of  research and public policy, were published together in that section.

Click titles to download or read the op eds:

Also from the Lansing State Journal report:

Among findings from the Council of State Governments Justice Center study of Michigan’s criminal justice system: 

  • People with similar criminal histories who commit similar crimes receive significantly different sentences.
  • While Truth in Sentencing was meant to make length of sentences more transparent, it still remains unclear how much time a prisoner will serve.
  • Variations in sentencing increase expenses without providing corresponding benefits to public safety.
  • High rates of recidivism generate unnecessary costs.
  • Staff and money are not efficiently targeted at reducing recidivism.
  • Instead of targeting supervision to released offenders at highest risk of recidivism, Michigan provides similar supervision for both the low risk and the high risk.
  • Re-arrest rates for parolees have declined; recidivism among probationers has not.
  • Policy makers lack data to track outcomes.

Source: Council of State Governments Justice Center

By the numbers:

$2 billion — what Michigan spends on corrections, about 20 percent of state spending.

43,704 — number of inmates in Michigan prisons in 2013.

51,554 — record number of inmates in Michigan prisons, set in 2007.

$37,000 — annual cost of an inmate in Michigan prisons

$12,000 — annual cost of a prisoner held in a county jail

79% — increase in Michigan’s average prison stay between 1990 and 2009.

7.5 million — number of records examined by Council of State Governments Justice Center in studying Michigan’s sentencing practices.

Sources: Michigan Department of Corrections, Pew Center, Council of State Governments Justice Center

Note: You can find the entire section of the Lansing State Journal Greater Lansing Outlook online.