Michigan’s prisons director has serious reservations about privatizing food and other services, as called for in a new budget, says the Detroit News. Dan Heyns said he shares security concerns that corrections officers have expressed about allowing more non-state workers into the state’s 34 prisons. Heyns wants to meet the targeted food savings of $7 million, along with more than $33 million in other efficiencies his department is expected to find in the fiscal year that starts Oct. 1. He hopes lawmakers will allow flexibility in how savings are achieved.
“Meals are extremely important to the stability of institutions,” Heyns said. “You’ve got to proceed very carefully.” It costs the state $2.07 a day to provide prisoners with three meals, down from about $2.60 a year ago. Heyns, who was Jackson County sheriff, isn’t dead-set against privatization, but the issue requires more study. Part of his job, he said, is forging better ties with lawmakers. He guesses some legislative actions “have been born out of frustration.”