Paying For The 1%
May 5, 2008 11:48 AM Subscribe
Fiscal Pressures Lead Some States to Free Inmates Early,
posted by Avenger (41 comments total)
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says the Washington Post. Across the United States, a financial crisis is brewing in our nation's correctional systems. California, which has the largest prison system in the nation
, (housing 170,000 inmates with a capacity of only 100,000), plans to increase the budget for new prison construction
by 7 to 14 billion dollars
, on top of releasing 22,000 nonviolent prisoners on unsupervised parole. Other states, especially Michigan, face an even more dire situation...
...Michigan, which spends more money on prisons than higher education
and where 1 in 3 state employees work for the prison system, is facing a prison-related economic crisis. 20 cents of every dollar in the state's general fund are being diverted to the prison system
: "Even without further growth, we're choosing to keep putting 20 percent of the state's general fund into corrections, which means continuing cuts to higher education, revenue sharing and social programs that could prevent crime,"
said reform advocate Barbara Levine. "It's not the sort of investment that will make Michigan a desirable place to live and work
Yet despite these challenges, the chances of any large-scale release of non-violent offenders is slim to none
. "Sen. Alan Cropsey of DeWitt, the state's most influential Republican voice on prison policies, continues to defend tough rules that have prevailed since the 1990s and added 16 prisons to Michigan's landscape. That unbending opposition from Cropsey, law enforcement professionals, victims' families and other lawmakers convinced Gov. Jennifer Granholm to back off her three-year campaign to ease harsh sentencing policies and save $92 million by releasing more than 5,000 inmates
"Cropsey, whose district includes several prison facilities, helped shape the policies that led to the prison buildup. He said he doesn't believe they should change, and his agreement likely would be required for major revisions.
" Instead, Michigan Republicans have proposed a plan that would, among other things, cut pay and overtime for prison guards, outsource many prison services and increase funding for faith-based programs