It’s no secret that Michigan is enduring the most extreme effects of the nation’s economic crisis: its unemployment rate stands at 15.3%, and the state is functioning on a temporary budget as legislators rush to close a $2.8 billion deficit. In recent years, the financial situation here has been so dire that Michigan has closed several detention facilities, reducing its prison population by thousands. Now, however, the state appears to be viewing prisoners in a different economic light — as a potential revenue generator.
There are ways to resolve a recession… and there are ways to not resolve a recession. Trying to get more prisoners housed in your state… that’s not a way to resolve a recession.
The United States has one of the highest incarceration rates in the world, and the highest incarceration rate among industrialized societies. In part, that’s because of the awful War on Drugs. The goal shouldn’t be imprisoning more people, or having more imprisoned people relocated to your state.
The goal should be building a society in which people have the freedom to live their lives, so long as they aren’t violent toward other people.
That’s what the people who founded this country believed.