89.1 WEMU

Corrections Budget Battle Heats Up In Lansing

May 16, 2017

Prison Cell Block
Credit Wikipedia Media Commons / wikipedia.org

Some state lawmakers and the Michigan Department of Corrections are battling it out over how much the state should spend on its prisons.  


Republican Senator John Proossubcommittee on corrections passed a budget that cuts the Department of Correction’s budget by about $40 million.  Proos said because the prison population is down, continuing to spend about the same amount each year means they are spending too much per prisoner. 

“That decrease prison population has decreased to such an extent that we have to recalibrate the way that we use our taxpayer dollars by virtue of paying for the beds that we need, not the beds that are open,” he said.

But the Michigan Department of Corrections says it’s not that simple.

MDOC Director Heidi Washington said, “We need to be able to continue to run programs and invest in the things that are making a positive impact on our population.”

According to Washington, the Senate’s proposed budget would not only cost people their jobs, it would cut necessary programs and support unnecessary ones.

“We’re on the right track and I’d like the ability to continue to move this department forward through the creation and implementation of programs that work,” she said.

Washington said the Department only asked for two things: enough money to hire and train more corrections officers and continue an alternative to prison program.  She said both are in jeopardy under the proposed Senate budget.

Non-commercial, fact based reporting is made possible by your financial support.  Make your donation to WEMU today to keep your community NPR station thriving.

Like 89.1 WEMU on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

—Cheyna Roth is a reporter for the Michigan Public Radio network.  Contact WEMU News at 734.487.3363 or email us at studio@wemu.org