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Proposed Michigan Department of Corrections budget contains cap on inmate population

LANSING, MI (WTVB) - The Michigan Department of Corrections budget, which is always closely watched in Branch County with the location of the Lakeland Correctional Facility in Coldwater, the MDOC spending plan for fiscal year 2015 starting October 1st was passed this week by the Senate Appropriations Committee.

The proposed budget would cap the state's prison population at 38,000. Corrections Subcommittee Chair Senator John Proos introduced the cap bill and according to the MIRS news agency the excess inmates would be housed in county jails and other secure facilities.  Proos said right now the prison population is 43,500. The excess prisoners could be housed however the department sees fit, probably with local sheriff's departments that have available jail beds or perhaps through a private facility.

According to the MIRS news service, Proos said the state is not required to close any facilities. The state just is required to contract for the beds to be operated beyond 38,000. Proos said the department would save 20% per prisoner by housing them elsewhere and DOC’s costs could also become more predictable.