Privatizing prisons is the wrong way for Michigan to save money
I understand that the state is in a budget crunch and that corrections takes a big chunk out of the general fund. Pursuing privatization in prisons (HB 5174/5177 and SB 877/878), however, is not “reinventing” anything. We have tried it. It did not save money, and in fact proved MORE costly than 33 of the state’s 37 prisons at the time. It failed and we learned our lesson.
For-profit companies should not take on the role of restricting citizens rights, using physical force if necessary, on the state’s behalf. They exist to make a profit, which they find by cutting corners and paying staff less. Higher turnover and instability add to the volatile situation inside. This is not what you should strive for in corrections.
As a corrections officer, I work inside every day and I see where there could be efficiencies that would mean savings to the state and “reinvent” corrections within the existing state run facilities. This is how we should and have been moving forward through the “New Solutions for Michigan” report state employees incorporated into our contracts. Listen to us, and together we can improve the system and not waste our time and money on relearning an old lesson.