The County Jail Reimbursement Program is a program that was established in 1989 and was designed to save money on prisons. It allowed county jails to house felons that would be housed in prisons in order to save the state of Michigan money..
According to the Department of Corrections, there is a reimbursement eligibility of $43.50 per diem rate for felons which qualify for the program up to a year (Dept. of Corrections).This is a very low cost in comparison with the costs in Michigan prisons. According to the Huron Daily Tribune, by housing inmates in county jails, the state is saving half the costs it would cost them to house them in prisons.It is important during this time of economic despair to consider these sorts of costs. According to Donald S. Matlock, in FY2008, "county jails retained 3,271 offenders who otherwise would have been sent to prison, costing the State 12.8M that year...the cost for the State of Michigan to house these offenders in prison would have been approximately $114.5M" (Matlock).This is a huge savings and allows the state of Michigan to save an immense amount of money on corrections. One of the main issues with the County Jail Reimbursement Program is the fact that although it saves money on the budget, the amount of funds allocated to the program does not meet its actual expenditures. For example, in FY2008, the budget was around $12.2M but by the end of FY2008, Michigan was $1.8M over the budget. Although this program goes beyond its buddget, it is important to remember how much the program saves the state in comparison to this overage.
According to a press release from MI News Wire, Governor Granholm vetoed three line item vetoes and two of those were dealing with the County Jail Reimbursement Program.One of these items increased the programs funding and was vetoed due to the "...Legislature's failure to change reimbursement criteria...the Legislature chose not to change existing criteria that allows counties to be reimbursed for many cases that would not likely result in prison sentences" (Boyd).
Some of the legislators from Southwest Michigan are currently attempting to override Governor Granholm's veto of this program that has done much to save the state money. These legislators want this taken care of as soon as possible so that the counties do not lose out on money that they otherwise would be getting for saving the state so much money. Some of the representatives that are involved in this attempt are Representative Tonya Schuitmaker, Representative John Proos, and Representative Tyler (Green).
FY 2008/2009 County Jail Reimbursement Program: Diverted Felons Instructional Manual. Michigan Department of Corrections. 10-1-2008. http://www.michigan.gov/documents/jailreimburseprogram_2269_7.pdf
Green, Andrew. SWM Lawmakers Hope to Save County Jail Reimbursement Funds. 19 October 2009.
Kate Hessling. State cuts jail reimbursements. Huron Daily Tribune. October 19, 2008.