In 1980, Michigan’s corrections budget was 3% of the state’s general fund. Now it is 20% of the general fund. What caused this increase?
Ken Sikkema, former Senate Majority Leader and Senior Policy Fellow at Public Sector Consultants, joined Stateside to answer this question.
He said it is a result of the "tough-on-crime" approach that started in the 1980s.
“Just throwing people into prison and keeping them there for ever-longer periods of time just isn’t really working,” Sikkema said. “It’s not driving down crime rates, it’s taking a lot of taxpayer money, and there are voices now saying 'let’s take a look at this.'"
Sikkema said a lot of the voices raising concerns and calling for review of corrections are conservative voices. Michigan has a higher cost per prisoner than the average around the country, and those prisoners serve longer sentences. Both contribute greatly to the high corrections budget.
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