State Initiatives: Michigan

Michigan policymakers have struggled for the last decade to get a handle on corrections spending in the midst of a deteriorating economic climate. As unemployment rates increased and state revenues declined, state spending on corrections grew considerably. Between FY1998 and FY2008, state general fund spending on corrections increased 57 percent from $1.26 billion to $1.99 billion, and by FY2007 accounted for 22.6 percent of state general fund expenditures.[i] Spending on corrections is such a large share of the state budget that in 2008, one in three state employees worked for the Michigan Department of Corrections.[ii]

Despite this significant expenditure of taxpayer resources in the correction system, violent crime rates in Michigan remained too high. The state’s violent crime rate, the highest in the Great Lakes regions, remained unchanged between 2000 and 2007, while the national rate experienced an 8 percent decline.[iii] 

In 2009, bipartisan leadership led to the closure of eight unneeded prisons over the protests of the corrections guards union.[iv] This saved $120 million. Moreover, as Michigan consolidates and downsizes its prison system, it is using approximately one-third of the savings in community-based supervision, sanctions, and treatment strategies that hold offenders accountable.

In 2009, the index crime rate in Michigan per 100,000 residents fell to its lowest point since 1965.[v]

[i] Council of State Governments Justice Center, Justice Reinvestment Michigan Profile,
[ii] Ibid.
[iii] Ibid.
[iv] David Eggert, “Michigan announces closure of 8 prison facilities, “ 5 June 2009, The Mining Journal,
[v] Michigan Crime Rates,

  • Craig DeRoche on Michigan’s Disproportionate Sentencing in the Detroit News

    Posted in Michigan, ROC Blog: September 5, 2014 by David Reaboi

    Writing in the Detroit News, president of Justice Fellowship, former speaker of the House in Michigan, and Right on Crime signatory Craig DeRoche tackles his home state’s record on disproportionate sentencing. He writes, the forcible deprivation of liberty through incarceration is an awesome state power that is vulnerable to misuse, threatening the republican values that […]

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  • “Texas conservatives to Michigan: Follow our lead and cut prison funding now”

    Posted in Michigan, Prisons, ROC Blog, State Initiatives: April 15, 2014 by Right on Crime

    Marc Levin and Derek Cohen in MLive: “Though their weather is very different, Michigan and Texas share many similarities. Geography and size notwithstanding, both states have a sizeable conservative majority in both chambers of the legislature, and a conservative executive. Both are diverse in terms of demographics and industry.” Click here to read more.

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  • The Mackinac Center: ‘Not So Criminal Minds’

    Posted in Michigan, Overcriminalization, ROC Blog, State Initiatives: December 12, 2013 by Right on Crime

    The Mackinac Center for Public Policy authored a piece on overcriminalization titled “People Who Do Not Knowingly Commit Crimes” There are thousands of federal laws and many more coming from the states. So many, that at the national level the government doesn’t even try to add them up anymore. Click here to read more.

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  • “Forfeiture In Michigan”

    Posted in Michigan, ROC Blog, State Initiatives: October 21, 2013 by Right on Crime

    Michigan Capitol Confidential: Bipartisan House bill would bring transparency to law enforcement seizing property without criminal charges. Read the whole story here.

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  • Improving Law Enforcement in Detroit

    Posted in Law Enforcement, Michigan, Priority Issues, ROC Blog, State Initiatives: August 1, 2013 by Ross Marchand

    You wouldn’t know it by tuning into your local news, but the notorious crime epidemic of the 1960s, 70s, and 80s appears to have passed. Property crime and homicide rates haven’t been this low in 30-40 years, and contrary to many predictions, crime has actually continued declining during the recession.

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  • Michigan Provides More Avenues for Rehabilitated Juveniles

    Posted in Juvenile Justice, Michigan, Priority Issues, ROC Blog, State Initiatives: January 7, 2013 by Jeanette Moll

    Some juveniles who commit delinquent acts truly learn from their actions and are able to turn their lives around. For juveniles who have reached this level of rehabilitation, it is important that their past mistakes don’t stand in their way of living productive, law abiding lives.

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  • Crime, Workforce, and Economic Development

    Posted in Michigan, Other, Priority Issues, ROC Blog, State Initiatives: October 18, 2012 by Jeanette Moll

    In a recent poll, Detroit residents pegged crime as their biggest concern. This bucks the national trend of Americans worrying less and less about safety as crime rates drop. In fact, only one percent of Americans elsewhere believe that crime is the nation’s most important problem.

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  • Michigan Considers Swift & Sure Sanctions

    Posted in Adult Probation, Michigan, Priority Issues, ROC Blog, State Initiatives: October 10, 2012 by Jeanette Moll

    In an effort to more effectively supervise probationers and parolees, Michigan is looking to Hawaii for answers. Specifically, the HOPE Court, founded in Hawaii in 2005, provides swift and sure sanctions for supervision violations.

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  • Encouraging New CSG Report on Declining Recidivism in 7 States

    Posted in Kansas, Michigan, Ohio, Parole and Re-Entry, Priority Issues, ROC Blog, State Initiatives, Texas, Vermont: September 25, 2012 by Vikrant P. Reddy

    This morning, the Council of State Governments Justice Center released an encouraging new report on declining recidivism rates. The report examined the 2005 and 2007 recidivism rates in seven states: Kansas, Michigan, Mississippi, Ohio, Oregon, Texas, and Vermont.

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  • Community Based Re-Entry in Detroit and Cleveland

    Posted in Michigan, Ohio, Parole and Re-Entry, Priority Issues, ROC Blog, State Initiatives: July 10, 2012 by Jeanette Moll

    One of the most important and fundamental aspects of an effective criminal justice system is proper reentry that ensures public safety is protected while successfully transitioning an offender from prison to the free world. To achieve these dual goals, two jurisdictions have adopted novel…

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