Overall Cuts to 2016 Corrections Budget Impacts Some Community-Based Programs

After almost two decades of strong growth, funding for the Department of Corrections has increased only modestly in recent years. The 2016 budget adopted by the Legislature, reduces overall year-to-date spending by 3%, almost all of which is from state general funds. Overall funding for the department is in line with the Senate recommendation of $1.962 billion ($1.9 billion state general fund dollars).

Prisoner Healthcare

Since budget year 2000, spending on prisoner healthcare and mental health services has grown at an average annual rate of 3.6%. Between budget years 2005 and 2010, the rate of growth was 9%, but has since grown very little. A major contributor to the growth in healthcare costs is the aging prison population. In 1995, only 24% of the prisoner population was over the age of 40; however, in 2013, this figure climbed to 43%, with nearly 20% over the age of 50. Mental health issues also continue to be a significant contributor.

Healthcare Services: The governor maintained funding for healthcare services ($75.2 million), the vaccination program ($691,200), and substance abuse testing and treatment services ($21.8 million) at the current year levels.

    • The House and Senate agreed with the governor.
    • Final Budget: The Legislature concurred with the governor.

Eligibility Specialists and Healthy Michigan Fund: The governor continued support for Department of Health and Human Services eligibility specialists ($100,000), and Healthy Michigan Fund administration ($1.08 million) for returning citizens to gain access to Medicaid.

    • The House and Senate agreed with the governor.
    • Final Budget: The Legislature concurred with the governor.

Clinical and Mental Health Services and Support: The governor maintained funding for clinical and mental health services and supports, which combine physical and mental health care services to provide more cohesive healthcare.

    • House: The House reduced funding by $901,000.
    • Senate: The Senate cut funding by $15 million to reflect estimated cost savings from moving to a unified healthcare contract.
    • Final Budget: The Legislature concurred with the Senate recommendation.

Jail Mental Health Transition Pilot Program: The governor provided continuation funding ($1 million) for the pilot program, and transferred funding to the Department of Health and Human Services in an effort to streamline mental health diversion services programs and projects.

    • The House and Senate agreed with the governor.
    • Final Budget: The Legislature concurred with the governor.

Prisoner Reentry Into the Community

State prisoner reentry programs include education services to facilitate reintegration into the community. Prisoner education programs aim to provide marketable skills to offenders through academic, workplace, and social competency training. Prisoner reentry programs enhance public safety by reducing recidivism through a plan of services and supervision with state and local collaboration. A plan is developed for each prisoner upon entry into prison through parole and reintegration into the community.

Prisoner Education: The governor recommended total funding for prisoner education at $35.9 million, including a slight increase of $495,500 in additional federal funds. The governor also recommended replacing a portion of state general funds ($7 million) with Special Equipment Fund revenues, which come from surcharges on prisoner phone calls.

    • The House and Senate agreed with the governor on total funding for prisoner education of $35.9 million.
    • The House and Senate also recognized increased revenue from surcharges on prisoner phone calls. The Senate recommended using $7 million from that fund, while the House would use $9.8 million.
    • Final Budget: The Legislature concurred with the governor and Senate.

Reentry Services: The governor reduced funding for local reentry services by $500,000 to reflect an anticipated yearend lapse. DOC reentry program funding levels would be maintained at $11.12 million. The governor also retained funding ($149,000) for prisoner reentry legal services pilot projects in Kent and Oakland counties.

    • The House and Senate agreed with the governor to reduce funding for local reentry services and maintain funding for DOC reentry programs.
    • The House recommended the elimination of funding for prisoner reentry legal services pilot projects in Kent and Oakland counties while the Senate inserted a placeholder for the program as a point of difference to be discussed in conference committee.
    • Final Budget: The Legislature agreed with the governor and reduced funding for local reentry services by $500,000, while maintaining funding for DOC reentry programs at $11.12 million. Funding for prisoner reentry legal services pilot programs in Kent and Oakland counties was eliminated.

Jail Overcrowding: The governor maintained funding for a public safety initiative that allowed for the reopening of the Flint lock-up to help the city with jail overcrowding ($4.5 million).

    • Senate: The Senate agreed with the governor.
    • House: The House eliminated funding for the initiative.
    • Final Budget: The Legislature maintained current-year funding as recommended by the governor and Senate.

Goodwill Industries Program for At-Risk Youths and Young Adults: Currently, Goodwill Industries of Greater Detroit in Wayne County receives grant funding ($2.5 million) from the state to provide education, job training, and mentoring to at-risk 16-29 year olds. The program aims to prevent people from going to prison. The governor eliminated funding for the program.

    • House: The House agreed with the governor.
    • Senate: The Senate maintained funding for the program.
    • Final Budget: The Legislature reduced funding by $500,000.

Community Corrections and Treatment: The governor continued current-year funding for community corrections comprehensive plans and services, felony drunk driver jail reduction and community treatment programs, and residential reentry services.

    • The House and Senate agreed with the governor.
    • Final Budget: The Legislature concurred with the governor.

Public Works Program: The governor eliminated funding for the public works program ($1 million). The program was intended to encourage local governments or nonprofits to hire prisoners for public works projects and pay user fees for services performed. The program was never utilized.

    • The House and Senate agreed with the governor.
    • Final Budget: The Legislature restored $1 million in restricted funds for local public works projects.

Field Operations

The Field Operations Administration is responsible for state parole and probation supervision as well as other methods of specialized supervision. There are parole and probation offices located in 10 regions throughout the state. DOC currently supervises about 47,000 offenders on felony probation and more than 14,000 offenders on parole.

The Swift and Sure Sanctions Program: The governor eliminated DOC funding ($1 million) for an interdepartmental grant to DHS to expand the Swift and Sure Sanctions program. The Swift and Sure Sanctions program is an intensive probation supervision initiative that targets high-risk felony offenders with a history of probation violations or failures. It aims to improve probationer success by promptly imposing graduated sanctions, including small amounts of jail time, for probation violations.

    • Senate: The Senate proposed to maintain current funding levels.
    • House: The House agreed with the governor to eliminate funding.
    • Final Budget: The Legislature eliminated funding for the program expansion.

New Senate Initiative – Parole Sanction Certainty Pilot Program: The Senate budget included $500,000 for a new parole sanction certainty pilot program to distribute funds to accredited rehabilitation organizations in Berrien, Calhoun, Kalamazoo, Macomb, Muskegon, Oakland, and/or Wayne counties for operation and administration of pilot programs that are to be utilized as a condition of parole for technical violators.

    • Final Budget: The Legislature included the Senate recommendation for $500,000 for the pilot program.