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House Calls for Closing Juvenile Justice Facilities—and Other Budget Concerns for MAGE

House Calls for Closing Juvenile Justice Facilities—and Other Budget Concerns for MAGE

The House’s omnibus budget, House Bill 5365, was passed on May 3rd. The House has named Rep. Moss (R-Birmingham), Rep. Haveman (R-Holland), and Rep. LeBlanc (D-Westland) as conferees to settle differences between the House and Senate versions of the budget. The Senate has not yet named its conferees. We do not expect final budget decisions until the Revenue Estimating Conference later this month but there are many

The House version of budget includes closing all three of the state’s juvenile justice facilities in an attempt to save an estimated $21.3 million, while simultaneously cutting 166 state employee jobs and moving these youth to private facilities. The Governor’s budget recommendation did not call for these closings.

The Michigan Probate Judges Association has come forward with its strong opposition of the closures. Among other reasons, the Association has noted that the budget not only assumes privately run facilities would operate at a lower cost, but also ignores the fact there will always be a need for long-term placements of juveniles who have failed in other placements. The Department of Corrections is also against these closures.

In the Senate version of the DHS budget, all child welfare services in Kent County except for CPS would be privatized. This version of the budget also calls for workgroups on privatizing eligibility services for Medicaid and privatizing Maxey.

The Senate DOC budget bill in Sec. 1015 would cut 580 specific positions, of which 307 are Assistant Resident Supervisors, with the second largest group being secretaries. The “other” category includes all deputy wardens in facilities with more than one as well as a number of library staff. Language in this budget bill includes competitive bidding for “the special alternative incarceration facility, the prison stores, the food service operations, and 1750 custody beds. DOC also would be required to issue quarterly reports detailing the status of any RFP’s, with an explanation of any delays if the status of any item on the list is unchanged for more than 2 consecutive reporting periods. Other areas of potential bidding include Woodland, health care, and mental health care.

MAGE has consistently informed legislators regarding the impact on safety and security of changes such as the ones listed above—safety and security of staff and of the public. Please continue to let your state legislators know your thoughts as next year’s budget get resolved.