Michigan governor seeks to close prison and save the state millions

Posted on: February 18th, 2011 by The American Independent No Comments

A new parole board that will review the status of the 8,000 Michigan prisoners who have served their minimum sentence and paroles in the next few months will allow for the closure of one prison by the end of the year, Gov. Rick Snyder said in the budget proposal presented yesterday.

From the budget:

The Governor recommends $51 million in net savings through various department efficiencies including use of existing Michigan Prisoner Re-entry Initiative (MPRI) resources that will allow for a prison closure.

• The Parole Board will return to a 10 member body appointed by the director of the department under Executive Order 2011-3. The Governor recommends continued use of MPRI assets to support carefully considered parole decisions. There are currently over 8,000 prisoners who have served their minimum sentences and are eligible for parole. The department anticipates that paroles over the next few months will allow for the closure of a facility late in fiscal year 2011. Fiscal year 2012 savings related to that closure are estimated to be $18.9 million.

The Executive Budget includes $1.6 billion to operate a safe and secure prison system that currently houses 44,000 prisoners.

• The Governor’s budget includes $222 million in funding for oversight and supervision of parolees and felony probationers.
• The budget provides $133 million in funding for community programs such county jail reimbursement, community corrections, and the Michigan Prisoner Reentry Initiative.

According to the Snyder budget the average cost of housing a prisoner is now $34,600 per year. The state now has the lowest prison population since 1998.

“We will have available bed space given the current parole rate,” Michigan Dept. of Corrections spokesman John Cordell said. “In 2010, we lost an average of 30 prisoners per week. Those beds have been spread throughout the system. What we will now do is identify a prison based on a variety of factors we have used in the past for identifying prison closures. Once identified we will move prisoners to vacant beds throughout the system and once the prison is empty, we will close it. Staff at the facility will have rights to transfer based on their seniority and placement options they have filed with the Department.”

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