Prisoner Reentry in Michigan

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The state of Michigan spends more money on jails and prisons than it does on education, but is this money well spent? The Michigan Prisoner ReEntry Initiative would suggest that it is. The MPRI is a collaborative effort that draws from the commitment of community groups, the Michigan Department of Corrections, and other state agencies. Launched in 2003 and expanded statewide in 2008, the initiative’s mission is to equip every released offender with tools to succeed in the community. The MPRI is a nationally recognized commitment to public safety that gives prisoners the tools they need to succeed in a process that begins when they enter prison and continues through parole and reintegration into the community. The MPRI has effectively reduced Michigan’s prison population, recidivism rate, and crime rate. (Figure 1) It has broken the cycle of soaring Corrections costs by investing in safe alternatives to costly and unnecessarily long stays in prisons. By breaking the cycle of crime and incarceration, the MPRI has managed to cut spending on prisons down by 293 million dollars annually, and although that may be the biggest benefit it is one of many. (1) The number one goal of the MPRI is to reduce crime. It does that by better preparing parolees before they return to the community, making smarter decisions about who is released and when, and providing enhanced supervision and services in the community. It ensures what Lansing Prison Warden Kenneth McKee calls “a game plan for success,” which includes a team of supporters from the community who will help them carry out the plan. (1) MPRI begins at intake, when a prisoner’s risk, needs and strengths are measured to develop individualized programming. Prior to parole, offenders are transferred to a reentry facility, and a transition plan, which addresses employment, housing, transportation, mentoring, counseling and any necessary treatment for mental illness or addictions, is finalized in close collaboration with...
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