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Dept. of Corrections raises concerns over House version of its budget

Image of a prison fence
Shayan Sanyal/flickr

The state department in charge of Michigan’s prisons is not happy with a proposed spending plan in the state Legislature.

A spending plan for the Michigan Department of Corrections passed out of a state House committee. It would redirect millions of dollars that previous budgets had allocated for certain projects – like prison maintenance – to other priorities.

State Representative Thomas Albert (R-Lowell) is chair of the House Corrections subcommittee.

“We have the power of the purse and we have the authority to repurpose funds that were used in the past,” he says.

The department is concerned this would mean it wouldn’t be able to finance the completion of major ongoing projects, such as the new Vocational Village at the women’s prison.

Chris Gautz is a spokesman for the MDOC.

“This new system that they’re trying to put in place, all it does is move around the state’s problems and doesn’t actually solve them,” he says.

GOP lawmakers say they’re trying to fund a number of priorities within the department, but they’re willing to keep working with the MDOC.

Before becoming the newest Capitol reporter for the Michigan Public Radio Network, Cheyna Roth was an attorney. She spent her days fighting it out in court as an assistant prosecuting attorney for Ionia County. Eventually, Cheyna took her investigative and interview skills and moved on to journalism. She got her masters at Michigan State University and was a documentary filmmaker, podcaster, and freelance writer before finding her home with NPR. Very soon after joining MPRN, Cheyna started covering the 2016 presidential election, chasing after Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, and all their surrogates as they duked it out for Michigan. Cheyna also focuses on the Legislature and criminal justice issues for MPRN. Cheyna is obsessively curious, a passionate storyteller, and an occasional backpacker. Follow her on Twitter at @Cheyna_R
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