Gross Appropriation

Appropriation Breakdown




Correctional Facilities


$6,027,800 from Interdepartmental

Administration; Correctional



Facilities Clinical Operations


$544,000 from Federal Funds;



$870,018,500 from GF/GP;



$2,950,800 from Special Revenue Funds

Program Description:

The state currently operates a number of correction camps and 30 penal facilities: Alger Maximum Correctional Facility; Baraga Maximum Correctional Facility; Brooks Correctional Facility; Carson City Correctional Facility; Chippewa Correctional Facility; Cotton Correctional Facility; Florence Crane Correctional Facility; Egeler Correctional Facility; Handlon Michigan Training Unit; Harrison Correctional Facility; Huron Valley Correctional Facility; Ionia Maximum Correctional Facility; Ionia Temporary Facility; Kinross Correctional Facility; Lakeland Correctional Facility; Macomb Correctional Facility; Marquette Branch Prison; Michigan Reformatory; Mid-Michigan Temporary Facility; Mound Correctional Facility; Muskegon Correctional Facility; Oaks Maximum Correctional Facility; Riverside Correctional Facility; Ryan Correctional Facility; Saginaw Correctional Facility; Scott Correctional Facility; Standish Maximum Correctional Facility; State Prison of Southern Michigan; Thumb Correctional Facility; Western Wayne Correctional Facility.

Recommended Action:

Several states, including Florida, Kentucky, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, and Texas, have successfully contracted out all aspects of the management of prison operations, at a savings to the taxpayers of those states. Indeed, as author Wayne Calabrese has written, "cost comparisons have been made that clearly indicate that privatization of correctional facilities leads to significant savings," while "[t]he quality of services delivered by privatized corrections has, in the main, been equal or superior to the quality of correctional services delivered by the public sector."[60]

Here in Michigan, according to Department director Kenneth L. McGinnis:

[T]he MDOC is proceeding with privatization of several major funcations within its facilities. Health care services have been privatized at five prisons in the last year, resulting in a one-year savings of $600,000 to the department. This year all specialty care for prisoners will be placed under a managed care contract at a projected savings of $6-8 million. Food production at the Jackson complex should be privatized by the end of FY96. Plans are being finalized for the privatization of the education programs within the Department. These and other efforts at privatization are the culmination of four years of negotiation with the Attorney General and the Civil Service Commission who has to authorize and sanction such efforts.[61]

In a report published by the University of Florida's Center for Studies in Criminology and Law, Charles W. Thomas examined available data on 45 privately managed correctional facilities. And of the private facilities capable of cost comparison with public counterparts, all ten evidenced cost savings--ranging from 10.71 percent to 52.23 percent.[62] Thus, if the state of Michigan, through privatization, only experienced the average savings in costs that these facilities did, 31.47 percent, a savings of $276,791,584 could be realized, and appropriations could be reduced from $879,541,100 to $602,749,516.

The progress made by the Department of Corrections toward privatization is significant and encouraging. The Department should move as rapidly as possible to fully privatize where appropriate, including the design, construction, and management of all Michigan penal institutions. The evidence is in: the private sector can do a more cost-efficient and higher quality job than can the state in this area.[63]