The Governor's Office and Prison Privatization
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The placement for my Experiential Senior Individualized Project took place within the George Romney Building in downtown Lansing, working in the Executive Office of Governor Granholm. The program was an intensive, 40 hour/week, 11-week internship called the Michigan Leadership Development Program. I worked as an Economic Development intern for Tim Flanagan, the Economic Development Issue Specialist, in the Constituent Services Division. I never thought I would do any work in public service, especially in something as high-exposure as the Governor's office. The work in the office involved answering constituent calls, drafting letters and replies, coordinating Agency support, and keeping up with all the state laws and regulations. In addition to my economic focus, my other main area of work involved the Department of Corrections. With the large appropriations to Corrections, I felt it relevant to combine these two areas when working out a topic for my connections essay. I found prison privatization was both relevant and important when looking at state budget concerns and the effects on the economy. With numerous legislative leaders calling for reforms and changes to the system, privatization constantly came up as a viable alternative to a state-run corrections system. Through my research, I found that privatizing the entire Michigan prison system is not only unfeasible, but downright risky. The benefits of possibly saving money do not outweigh the cost of turning prisoners into profit. It mainly comes down to liability and constitutional matters, which limit the savings earned by privatizing.