Michigan is one of only a handful of states that spends more on prisons than it does on higher education. This is a disgrace, and isn’t doing very much for either our budget or our future.
The reasons for this are both complex and simple. The societal reasons are complex, of course, and have been addressed at length by people more knowledgeable than I.
The technical reasons are far simpler. Thirty years ago, there were only about 13,000 inmates in Michigan prisons. Five years ago, the figure had ballooned to more than 51,000.