House and Senate Approve Corrections FY 2015 Budget

Full Report in PDF

Both the House and Senate have approved their versions of the Fiscal Year 2015 budget for the Department of Corrections, and differences between the bills will now be resolved at a joint House/Senate conference committee.

The total DOC budget approved by the House is $2.04 billion, including $1.98 billion in state General Fund. This is a 0.1% ($2.5 million) increase in total funding, and a 0.9% ($17.2 million) increase in state General Fund dollars, compared with year-to-date funding levels as of Feb. 5, 2014.

The total DOC budget approved by the Senate is $2.03 billion, including $2.0 billion from the state General Fund. This is a 0.3% ($6.5 million) decrease in total funding, and a 0.7% ($14.5 million) increase in state General Fund dollars, compared with year-to-date funding.

The DOC budget is the fifth largest in Michigan, accounting for around 4% of total appropriations from all fund sources in the current fiscal year. When state General Fund monies are considered alone, the DOC budget is the state’s second largest, accounting for 21.3% of the General Fund.

Both the House and Senate budgets are lower than the governor’s recommendation, by $15 million and $24 million respectively. Major discrepancies include funding for a new Hepatitis C treatment program, which the governor’s budget includes but the House and Senate budgets do not; as well as funding for two prisoner re-entry legal services pilot programs, which the House includes, but the Executive and Senate budgets do not.

Included in the DOC budgets are the following changes:

Healthy Michigan Plan

GOVERNOR:

  • Recognizes full-year savings of $19.1 million in state General Fund in Fiscal Year 2015 as a result of the implementation of the Healthy Michigan Plan. Under this plan, low-income individuals ages 19-64 – who are not eligible for or enrolled in Medicaid or Medicare, are not pregnant, and have incomes up to 133% of the federal poverty level – qualify for comprehensive healthcare. The current year budget assumed that most prisoner inpatient hospitalizations, certain services for mentally ill and medically fragile inmates, and some re-entry services would be covered. However, it was subsequently determined that certain treatments for sex offenders and substance abuse are not eligible for Medicaid reimbursement. The executive budget acknowledges that these services are not covered by federal funds, and reinstates $5.1 million in state funds to cover the costs.

HOUSE:

  • Concurs with the governor.

SENATE:

  • Concurs with the governor.

New Hepatitis C Treatment Protocol

GOVERNOR:

  • Includes $4.9 million in new funding to implement a treatment protocol for Hepatitis C, as recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Current treatment duration can take up to one year; includes side effects such as depression, anxiety and anemia; and is not guaranteed to cure the disease. The drugs recently approved by the Federal Drug Administration shorten the treatment period to 12 weeks, have fewer side effects, and a success rate of approximately 95%.

HOUSE:

  • Does not concur with the governor.

SENATE:

  • Includes a $100 placeholder to ensure discussion of the issue in conference committee, expressing concerns about the higher cost of the new treatment protocol.

Mental Health Diversion Council

GOVERNOR:

  • Includes $1 million in state funding for a pilot project that will connect inmates in one local jail with comprehensive mental health treatment as they transition back into the community. This funding is part of the implementation of the recommendations of the Mental Health Diversion Council created by the governor in 2013. This council is tasked with developing methods to divert individuals with mental illness or substance abuse problems out of the criminal justice system and into appropriate treatment.

HOUSE:

  • Concurs with the governor.

SENATE:

  • Concurs with the governor.

Prisioner Education Enhancement

GOVERNOR:

  • Includes $4.3 million General Fund (of which $1.1 million is one-time funding) to expand prisoner vocational education and prepare parolees for entry into the workforce. The added funding will be used to hire 15 additional employment counselors and five instructors. This initiative will focus on helping inmates acquire skillsets that are in demand by employers and connect inmates with employers prior to their release.

HOUSE:

  • Concurs with the governor.

SENATE:

  • Does not include this funding.

Michigan State Industries

GOVERNOR:

  • Includes $12.3 million in restricted funds to cover the administrative costs of Michigan State Industries. MSI is a DOC program that employs inmates while imprisoned. MSI’s stated goal is to give inmates an opportunity to acquire job skills and experience in preparation for their release.

HOUSE:

  • Concurs with the governor.

SENATE:

  • Reduces funding for this program by $6.2 million (50%) in restricted funds, and calls for a study of the program by December 2014.

Goodwill Flip the Script

Flip the Script is a program of Goodwill Industries of Greater Detroit, which provides education, job training and mentoring for young males, 19-29 years old, to encourage their self-sufficiency and prevent their entry into the justice system.

GOVERNOR:

  • Does not include funding for the program, which is a new line item in the Senate budget.

HOUSE:

  • Does not include new funding.

SENATE:

  • Includes $4.5 million in state funds for Flip the Script.

Swift and Sure

The Swift and Sure Sanctions Probation Program is a joint project with Michigan Rehabilitation Services in the Department of Human Services, and is designed to assist mentally and physically disabled probationers find employment.

GOVERNOR:

  • Does not include new funding.

HOUSE:

  • Does not include new funding.

SENATE:

  • Includes $3 million in additional funding to expand The Swift and Sure Sanctions Probation Program.

Prisoner Re-entry Legal Services

Re-entry legal services is a pilot program that would assist ex-offenders with employment, housing, child support and other related matters by providing outreach, education and legal representation.

GOVERNOR:

  • Does not include funding for the program, which is a new line item in the House budget.

HOUSE:

  • Adds $449,000 in state General Fund for two pilot programs to be established in Kent and Oakland counties (the latter also serving Wayne County).

SENATE:

  • Does not include new funding.

Re-entry, Parole, Probation and Community Programs

GOVERNOR:

  • The governor recommends $311.7 million in total funding for re-entry, parole, probation and community programs, a decrease of 4.9% ($15.9 million) compared with year-to-date funding. This decrease reflects expected savings from the implementation of the Healthy Michigan Plan, expected reductions in federal grants, and a transfer of funds to the Correctional Facilities Unit for the newly re-opened Detroit Detention Center.

HOUSE:

  • Includes $312.2 million for re-entry, parole, probation and community programs, a decrease of 4.7% ($15.5 million) compared with year-to-date funding.

SENATE:

  • Approves $315.5 million for re-entry, parole, probation and community programs, a decrease of 4.3% ($14.1 million) compared with year-to-date funding.