The economic downturn has hit state budgets hard, and Michigan is a prime example. Lawmakers have moved to control growth of the corrections budget in the state, where violent crime is a problem, and local law enforcement lacks resources to apprehend offenders. In the midst of a statewide recession, unemployed, disconnected youth have a higher risk of involvement in the criminal justice system, and in One in 100: Behind Bars in America 2008, Pew reported that Michigan is one of four states that spend more on prisons than on higher education.
Soon after the release of the Pew report, Gov. Jennifer Granholm, Senate Majority Leader Michael Bishop and Speaker of the House Andy Dillon requested intensive technical assistance from the Council of State Governments Justice Center–a partner in Pew's Public Safety Performance Project–to work with a group of policy makers to analyze Michigan's crime, community corrections and sentencing policies. With Pew and the Justice Center, the state working group has since developed and agreed on a policy framework that will make residents of Michigan safer and that will reduce spending on corrections.