No More Free Coffee for Mich. Inmates

Free coffee (search) soon will be off the menu in Michigan's prisons. In an effort to save $250,000 this year, inmates in state prisons and people in boot camps and correctional centers won't be able to get free coffee after March 1, Corrections Department spokesman Russ Marlan said Monday.

Marlan said inmates still will be able to buy instant coffee (search) at prison stores, but he didn't know how much they charge for coffee.

"We're looking at everything that can reduce costs without jeopardizing public safety," Marlan said. "There is no nutritional value to coffee."

The state pays $2.50 to feed an inmate three meals a day, or a little more than $120,000 for the state's 48,600 inmates, Marlan said.

He said the savings generated by getting rid of free coffee are in Gov. Jennifer Granholm's (search) budget-cutting executive order to help resolve a $375 million shortfall in this year's $8.8 billion general fund. But the department will go ahead with it even if the House and Senate Appropriations committees reject the order, he said.

The overall Department of Corrections budget is $1.79 billion for the current fiscal year. Granholm's executive order includes $18.7 million in spending cuts and funding shifts in the Corrections budget.

The executive order is scheduled to be considered by the House and Senate Appropriations committees on Tuesday.