Legislation watch
Mackinac Center for Public Policy
Capitol Building

2011 Senate Bill 877: Authorize prison privatization
  1. Introduced by Sen. John Proos, IV (R) on December 13, 2011, to allow, but not require, the Department of Corrections to contract out the incarceration of prisoners to a private prison in a five year contract, if doing so would save at least 5 percent. The bill specifies that this could include a contract to house adult prisoners at the former Michigan youth correctional facility in Baldwin, a privately owned and managed prison whose previous contract with the state was revoked by Gov. Jennifer Granholm in 2005.
    • Referred to the Senate Appropriations Committee on December 13, 2011.
      • Reported in the Senate on February 28, 2012, with the recommendation that the bill pass.
    • Substitute offered in the Senate on March 6, 2012, to replace the previous version of the bill with one that requires even greater savings before contracting out management of a prison. Note: Private prison management companies (like the one that formerly ran the Baldwin prison) are extremely unlikely to employ guards who belong to the state's largest prison guard union, because the terms of its contract are in large part why Michigan prisons reportedly cost more per prisoner than in other states. The prison guard union has lobbied heavily against this bill, and in favor of making it harder to privatize prisons. The substitute passed by voice vote in the Senate on March 6, 2012.
    • Amendment offered by Sen. Glenn Anderson (D) on March 7, 2012, to prohibit contracting out a prison to a company that allegedly has "a history of violations related to security," employment conditions, cost overruns, etc. The amendment failed by voice vote in the Senate on March 7, 2012.
    • Amendment offered by Sen. Vincent Gregory (D) on March 7, 2012, to establish that a privatized prison is financially liable for any damages arising out of a security breach (whereas current statute exempts prisons run by the state are immune from such liability). The amendment failed by voice vote in the Senate on March 7, 2012.
    • Amendment offered by Sen. Morris Hood, III (D) on March 7, 2012, to require the calculation used to determine whether a privatized prison saves 10 percent to include a number of specified factors, including some indirect ones, that would essentially make this requirement harder to meet. The amendment failed by voice vote in the Senate on March 7, 2012.
  2. Passed 20 to 18 in the Senate on March 7, 2012, to allow, but not require, the Department of Corrections to contract out the incarceration of prisoners to a private prison in a five year contract, if doing so would save at least 10 percent. This could include a contract to house adult prisoners at the former Michigan youth correctional facility in Baldwin, a privately owned and managed prison whose previous contract with the state was revoked by Gov. Jennifer Granholm in 2005.
    Who Voted "Yes" and Who Voted "No"

  3. Received in the House on March 8, 2012.
    • Referred to the House Appropriations Committee on March 8, 2012.

Comments

Re: 2011 Senate Bill 877 (Authorize prison privatization )  by riverguy on March 9, 2012 

 The people in the area of the Northlake facility badly need the jobs re-opening the prison would create. To the guards in the union: We can't all work for the state. Look at it this way, good jobs are needed in the private sector so the rest of us can pay our taxes and you can keep your high wages. It's not like every Michigan prisoner is going to eventually be in a private prison. The sky isn't falling, Chicken Little!



Re: 2011 Senate Bill 877 (Authorize prison privatization )  by Dutch boy's finger on January 22, 2012 

 Bill 877 and related bills pose a moral conumdrum.  While it may not be cruel, it certainly could be unusual to allow private enterprize to profit off of someone's punishment.  Does a prisoner's knowledge that someone is profiting off of their incarceration cause mental agony, i.e. torture?  Get ready for the appeals and add them to the expence.  However, if freedom of enterprize trumps the Eighth Amendment, this bill will afford Michigan the opportunity to be a model to other states.  Just think!  Capital punishment states could adopt the "Michigan Model" and allow private enterprize to carry out executions AND Michigan's for-profit-penal-system companies could expand into these out of state business opportunities.  It seems to be a matter of degree:  incarceration takes away a part of someone's life while execution takes it all away.Situation ethics?  Like imprisonment, there seems to be no way out of this.....



Re: 2011 Senate Bill 877 (Authorize prison privatization )  by JPHodge on January 11, 2012 

With prison privatization, the supplier's incentive will be to maximize revenue by increasing prison population any way it can.  With government operation, the incentive will be to minimize cost by better management of prison population from sentencing to release.  In the end, privatization will disincentivize rehabilitation and early release saving nothing for the tax payer and doing more harm to the prisoner and the public.  Do not privatize the prison system.  



View These pre-2013 Comments on the Forum.
Your new comments should be made in the box below.