LANSING, Mich. — Sen. John Proos, chairman of the Senate subcommittees for the Judiciary and Department of Corrections budgets, on Wednesday announced that agreements on the two budgets focus on protecting public safety and improving efficiency.
“We were able to save taxpayer dollars and still continue to invest in effective, evidence-based programs that are already working to achieve better outcomes for our communities and those in the criminal justice system,” said Proos, R-St. Joseph. “The budget agreements protect the public, reinvest in important job-training opportunities and continue support for the state’s groundbreaking criminal justice reforms.
“The fact that Michigan’s prison population fell below 40,000 last year for the first time since 1993 — and continues to fall — is a great illustration of the impact our efforts to reduce recidivism are having.”
House Bill 5562 is the Michigan Department of Corrections (DOC) budget for fiscal year 2019. The agreement is $18 million less than the governor’s budget recommendation.
The agreement includes $2 million for a new enhanced food technology program with assistance from the Michigan Restaurant Association (MRA) to help train prisoners for jobs in the food service industry.
“The on-site training incorporated in the budget is a game changer,” said Justin Winslow, MRA president and CEO. “We hear daily from our members that recruiting and retaining enough employees is their number one concern. This industry has always been ready to provide someone willing to work with a second chance. Given our current environment, that sentiment has never been more relevant and needed.”
Proos said, “This innovative program gives us an opportunity to provide valuable on-the-job skills to low-risk prisoners to help them meet workforce needs when they re-enter society.”
Senate Bill 859 is the Judiciary FY 2019 budget and includes a 1.3 percent increase from the current year’s budget. The agreement would fund needed technology upgrades, increase funding for problem-solving courts and maintain funding for the Swift and Sure Sanctioning Program.
“Under the agreement, we will continue to provide our courts with the resources they need to keep our communities safe and also invest in lower-cost alternatives like community dispute resolution centers,” Proos said. “Boosting support for specialty courts for mental health and addiction is good for the entire state. These courts help reduce crime and benefit both society and offenders by addressing underlying issues, such as drug and alcohol abuse.”
Editor’s note: Audio comments by Proos are available at www.SenatorJohnProos.com/Audio.