The FY 2016-17 MDOC budget of $2,002,729,000 was adopted by the legislative conference committee on June 1, 2016. Several aspects are of particular interest to members and supporters:
- The prisoner population has declined to 42,416. As a result, the MDOC has closed housing units at various facilities. Effective at the end of September, these empty beds will be consolidated into the closure of the Pugsley Correctional Facility, which will eliminate 238 FTEs and save $22 million.
o The Senate had proposed closing two facilities but leasing the North Lake Correctional Facility in Baldwin, which is owned by the GEO Corporation.
- No funds are appropriated for placing prisoners in leased jail beds. The Senate wished to continue the use of “virtual prisons,” which CAPPS and other organizations strongly opposed. However MDOC Director Heidi Washington agreed that these were not appropriate placements and determined that there were no significant savings from housing prisoners in local jails. In fact the budget shows a $1.6 million savings from “in-sourcing” leased beds. On the other hand, the reimbursement rate to counties for housing in local jails people who would have otherwise been prison-bound will increase by $5/day.
- $10 million was added to cover the increased cost of treating prisoners with Hep C with highly effective new medications.
- Funding was added for numerous programs intended to reduce probation and parole revocations and increase offender success.
o An additional $2 million was added to expand the “Vocational Village” concept currently being piloted at the Michigan Training Unit to a second facility. Prisoners participating in a career and technical education program live and work together in a positive learning environment.
o Funding for the Parole Sanction Certainty Pilot program being run by K-PEP was increased from $500,000 to $1.4 million, although the Goodwill Flip the Script program was decreased from $2 million to $1.5.
o A pilot program to provide medication-assisted treatment for parolees addicted to opioids or alcohol will receive $500,000.
o Nearly $7.5 million was added to mirror programs proposed in current Senate bills that have not yet been enacted. $3 million was added for the Supervising Region Incentive Program (SB 935) and $4.6 million was added for Criminal Justice Reinvestment (SB 936).
- Boilerplate provisions indicate substantial legislative interest in receiving data about in-prison program delivery, completion and effectiveness; parole grant rates and community-based recidivism reduction efforts. In particular:
o Sec. 22 requires quarterly reporting about the number of paroles granted, denied or deferred according to parole guidelines scores, including information about the number of prior continuances and the reasons for denials or deferrals.
o Sec. 615, which was initially proposed by CAPPS, requires the MDOC to report the number of parolable lifers who are currently eligible for release. For those lifers who have served more than 25 years, the report must include among other details:
- Age at offense
- Current age
- True security classification
- Dates of parole board file reviews
- Dates of parole board interviews
- Parole guidelines score
- Reasons for decision not to release.