In March 2017, the Michigan Legislature passed and Gov. Rick Snyder signed into law a multi-bill criminal justice reform package that was the statutory culmination of several years of budgetary reforms and legislative oversight. The results were impressive:
• The consolidation and closure of 20 correctional facilities1
• A 25% reduction in prison population2
• $1.2 billion in savings/avoided costs3
• A 9% reduction in violent crime4
Meanwhile, Wisconsin’s prison population continues to grow, costs are on the rise and there’s talk of building a new prison.
Could Michigan’s reforms be a model for Wisconsin? Former Michigan state Sen. John Proos, a Marquette University graduate and Republican from St. Joseph who helped shepherd the reform package through the Legislature, believes the answer is yes.
More than 60 legislators, department heads, legislative staff and others attended our Capitol event on May 22 at which, Proos, former chair of the legislative budget subcommittees overseeing corrections and the judiciary budgets, described the bipartisan reform measures Michigan adopted and the dramatic improvements that followed.
1Between 2005 and 2018, Senate Fiscal Agency, Winter 2019 report. 251,800 inmates in December 2007 compared to 38,800 in December 2018. 3Annual savings in 2018. 42017 compared to 2010 per https://ucr.fbi.gov/crime-in-the-u.s./.