The Michigan Department of Corrections budget is the largest single expenditure in the state’s general fund budget. We spend $5 million a day, $2 billion a year imprisoning approximately 42,000 people in Michigan’s state prisons. An additional 64,000 are under parole or probation supervision.
The annual cost to house an inmate in the Michigan's prison system is $34,000. This ends up consuming 1 out of 5 of our General Revenue Fund dollars. Imagine the issues we could address by finding a more efficient way to address public safety!
Reform Michigan’s parole and probation system. Approximately half of those in the Michigan criminal justice system are parole or probation violators, well above the national average of 30 percent. SB 933 would amend Chapter XI of the Code of Criminal Procedure to create a 30-day maximum period of incarceration for “technical violators”, probationers who haven’t committed a new crime but have broken a rule of his or her parole or probation. The limit would not apply to probationers who have committed five or more such violations. As a member of the Michigan House, I would support the House companion to SB 933.
Expand the Swift and Sure Sanctions Probation Program (SSSPP) statewide. In this program, probationers who violate the rules are immediately disciplined (within 72 hours). If a probationer accepts responsibility for the violation instead of running away or lying about it, they face less severe consequences. An evaluation of the SSSPP participants revealed that they were 36 percent less likely to re-offend than participants in conventional probation programs. Eighteen counties in Michigan are currently operating the SSSPP. SB 932, the Parole Sanction Certainty Act, would create a similar program for those on parole. As a member of the Michigan House, I would support the House companion bill for SB 932 and the expansion of the SSSPP.
Ensure that juvenile prisoners are not housed with adult prisoners. Housing juvenile prisoners with adult prisoners exposes the juveniles to sexual and psychological abuse at the hands of adult inmates. As District 1's next Representative in Lansing, I would support the House companion bill for SB 22.
Place our terminally ill and elderly prisoners in a more appropriate setting than prison.
Keep offenders from going back to prison by providing them with job skills. An inmate’s ability to make it on the outside greatly depends on his or her education level and employment-related skills. Inmates who have a full-time job are less than half as likely to be re-incarcerated as inmates who are unemployed. As a member of the Michigan House, I will support programs like the Work Opportunity Act and work to increase funding for Career and Technical Education facilities, such as the Vocational Village at the Richard A. Handlon Correctional Facility.