Rep. Howrylak today expressed his dissatisfaction with the passage of an omnibus state budget removing funding for W.J. Maxey Boys Training School in Whitmore Lake. The Michigan House of Representatives approved a final version of the state budget on Wednesday, June 3rd.
Rep. Howrylak approved of more funding for Michigan’s roads and bridges, but stood firm against what he calls a short-sighted defunding of a productive facility.
“Youth have no place in adult prisons. Our last three remaining state-operated juvenile justice facilities have a proven record for rehabilitating youth and boast lower recidivism rates than their private counterparts,” Rep. Howrylak said. “Maxey has an 80% success rate for rehabilitating our highest-risk youth population with intense psychological and psychiatric services provided by experienced professionals. Michigan residents are well-served by Maxey’s exceptional track record.”
The closure of Maxey under the Human Services portion of the budget may mean that more youth will end up in prison, Howrylak said. State-run juvenile facilities additionally provide for services, such as re-entry, that private facilities are not obligated to provide under state administrated contracts. Furthermore, Howrylak added, there is no real cost-savings from closing the Maxey facility.
“The State will now be saddled with an empty facility with a $20 million bond debt attached to it,” Rep. Howrylak said, “The closure of Maxey is another step toward full out-sourcing of services for our most vulnerable juvenile populations under a model that does not sincerely prioritize rehabilitation.”
Rep. Howrylak said he will press for a more thoughtful and rigorous review of juvenile justice services within Michigan and existing state resources, with an emphasis on quality of services and treatment.