Proos announces hearing to discuss funding formula for prisoners

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Senator John Proos

Senator John Proos

LANSING, Mich. — Sen. John Proos has announced a hearing planned for Wednesday to discuss what a funding formula for prisoners might look like. Proos believes that the state of Michigan needs a plan based on sound math and an accurate number of prisoners.

“The administration continues to seek a $1,481 per-prisoner at-facility increase or a $2,058 per-prisoner total increase,” said Proos, R-St. Joseph. “The math shows that the governor’s proposed budget exceeds per-pupil percentage increases by such a wide margin I believe that a new per-prisoner formula may make sound fiscal sense.”

A formula as seen in other budget areas, such as education, would be a new way to approach corrections spending on a go-forward basis.

“A funding formula could assure that we are only spending what is appropriate, while also helping to rein in our corrections budget, which accounts for nearly one-third of general fund money,” Proos said. “Money saved here could be used on our roads, our kids’ education, reinvested in criminal justice reforms or given back to our taxpayers.

“When the Michigan Department of Corrections is running from their own boilerplate numbers of available beds, number of prisoners and the simple math of per-prisoner spending, I am not confident their budget best uses taxpayer dollars.”

The corrections budget is predicated on an accurate number of prisoners and beds needed. Proos said the Senate Fiscal Agency estimated that there will be 3,800 available prison beds at Department of Corrections (DOC) facilities by Oct. 1, 2017.

“The Department of Corrections has been doing a fantastic job at getting prisoners ready for parole and diverting individuals away from our costly prison system,” said Proos, chairman of the Senate subcommittee for the DOC budget. “Michigan’s prison population continues to decline, which is good news for the entire state and an achievement that we expect to produce budget relief.

“A funding formula could ensure that taxpayer dollars are used responsibly to keep our communities safe.”

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Editor’s note: Audio comments by Proos will be available at www.SenatorJohnProos.com/Audio.