Audit: Michigan Prisoners Need Better Access To Education

Aug 19, 2014

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Audit finds problems with prisoner education programs in Michigan

The Michigan Department of Corrections has not done enough to make sure prisoners have access to education programs, according to a new report from the state Auditor General's office.

The audit shows the department failed to identify prisoners who are eligible for federal assistance to take classes. It also shows the department did not assess the programs to make sure they were effective.

The department says it agrees with the report's findings.

"Having a third party and come in and look at your operations and give you recommendations about how to improve I think is a good thing," said Russ Marlan, a spokesperson for the state Department of Corrections.

"And so, we're going to take these recommendations and move forward and hopefully improve our prison education and vocational education."

Marlan says the department recognizes how important the programs are for rehabilitating prisoners.

"If someone can find a job, they're obviously paying taxes and providing their own housing and their own transportation," he said. "So it's really a win-win for us."

Marlan says the department has already taken steps to improve prisoner education over the last three years. However, the audit found problems with the programs up until June of last year.