New report says MI can safely reduce prison population by 10,000

Jun 18, 2015

Current State talks with Barb Levine, lead author of a report from The Citizens Alliance on Prisons and Public Spending that offers a roadmap to reducing the prison population and saving the state hundreds of millions of dollars every year.


  In 1973, Michigan corrections facilities held a little under 8,000 inmates. Today, the prison population has swelled to over 43,000 inmates even as crime rates fell. The explosion in the prison population in the past three decades is due largely to “tough on crime” policies the state started implementing in the 1980s. Today, the state spends around $2 billion, nearly 20% of its General Fund budget, on corrections.

Now, some in Michigan are starting to ask if those policies are actually improving public safety or if they’re just an economic drain. The Citizens Alliance on Prisons and Public Spending, a non-partisan public policy advocacy organization, recently released a roadmap to reducing the prison population and saving the state hundreds of millions of dollars every year. The organization says it can all be done without compromising public safety.

Current State talks about the report and the increasing momentum for criminal justice reform in Michigan with Barb Levine, associate director for policy and research at CAPPS and lead author on the report.