Michigan Department of Corrections

The state is hammering out its budget. And lawmakers are having a sharp disagreement with the governor’s office over one of Michigan’s biggest price tags – the corrections budget. Both sides agree rehabilitation and lowering recidivism is the way to go. But they can’t agree on how much money to spend this year.

At stake are programs – like the Vocational Village in Ionia – that have helped lower the state’s incarceration rate.

Morgan Springer

A battle is heating up in Lansing over the state’s corrections budget.

Republican Senator John Proos’ subcommittee on corrections passed a budget that cuts the Department of Correction’s budget by about 40 million dollars. 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.

Michigan’s attempts to privatize prison food services is still running into problems. The legislature approved outsourcing prison food service in 2012 to cut costs. But it canceled its first contract with Aramark in 2015, after numerous problems.

Reports obtained by the liberal watchdog group Progress Michigan show the prisons are still having problems with spoiled food and outside staff.

Progress Michigan also wants the legislature to stop outsourcing services. Spokesperson Sam Inglot said this “failed experiment” needs to end.

MDOC

Today, the Michigan Department of Corrections announced that Pugsley Correctional Facility in Kingsley is scheduled to close in September. The low security prison employs 230 people.

State Sen. Wayne Schmidt (R-Traverse City) says the loss of 230 jobs is "a huge negative for Grand Traverse County."

He says it’s not only bad news for employees at Pugsley and their families, it’s bad for businesses.