The Detroit Free Press reported on June 9 that Michigan’s prison population dropped 5.2% over three months during the pandemic. Department officials say this is probably the fastest drop in state history.

The prison population was just under 36,000, Michigan Department of Corrections legislative liaison Kyle Kaminski told the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Corrections. That is down 1,958 prisoners since March 20, he said.

Though the population decline since March is greater than the total number of prisoners some Michigan prisons hold, Kaminski said now is not the time to close another prison, even as the state tries to close a multibillion-dollar budget gap. To prevent and control the spread of coronavirus, “we need the space to spread people out,” Kaminski said.

Several reasons for the drop in prisoners include:

  • Accelerated parole reviews
  • A sharp decline in prisoner intake from county jails and courts, which he said accounts for about half of the decline.
  • Fewer parolees being returned to prison for technical violations

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