LANSING, Mich. — Sen. John Proos on Wednesday revealed that the governor’s proposed Fiscal Year 2018 budget includes increases over the current budget of $100 per student and $1,480 per prisoner.
“When putting pen to paper I was astounded at the dramatic spike in per-prisoner spending in the governor’s budget plan,” said Proos, R-St. Joseph. “Those dollars would be better put to use in our classrooms, on our roads or in the pocketbooks of Michigan taxpayers — not on empty prison beds and buildings.”
Proos said the Senate Fiscal Agency estimated that there will be 3,800 available prison beds at Department of Corrections (DOC) facilities by Oct. 1, 2017. That includes the open beds as a result of the population decline of 1,600 between Feb. 1, 2016 and Feb. 1, 2017.
“The Department of Corrections has been doing a fantastic job at getting prisoners ready for parole and diverting individuals away from our costly prison system,” said Proos, chairman of the Senate subcommittee for the DOC budget. “Michigan’s prison population continues to decline, which is good news for the entire state and a positive achievement that we expect to continue.”
Proos said the dramatic spike in per-prisoner costs further illustrates that the state is funding empty beds and facilities.
“I am also disappointed in lack of criminal justice reform reinvestment in the governor’s plan,” Proos said. “Not only did the Senate reduce the per-prisoner facility increase, we invested in reforms that assist individuals as they return to our communities. These investments are consistent with the criminal justice reforms recently signed by the governor.”
Proos said the governor’s budget recommendation actually had a $111 per-prisoner decrease in criminal justice reform reinvestment.
“More than 90 percent of Michigan’s 41,000 prisoners will eventually return to our communities,” Proos said. “We must invest in their ability to transition into employment and productive members of our society.”
Proos’ Senate DOC budget calls for further in reach of both faith-based communities and employers willing to work with those who are incarcerated.
Editor’s note: Audio comments by Proos are available at www.SenatorJohnProos.com/Audio.