Friday, February 26, 2010

Prosecutor: Michigan's Accelerated Parole Reckless

Governor Jennifer Granholm of Michigan is taking some dramatic steps to balance her state's budget. She is proposing to cut corrections funding by $566 million. She plans on closing at least four prisons, reinstating "good time" to shorten criminal sentences and has begun to accelerate parole. She expects her efforts will reduce the prison population by 10,000 in 2011.

Michigan also expects to use their prisons to generate revenue by renting prison-beds to other states. The state has a $20 million contract with Pennsylvania to house 1,000 inmates.

Not everyone in Michigan is on board. State prosecutors have attacked accelerated parole as "reckless." Under Michigan law, prosecutors have the right to object to a parole action and victims have the right to be heard. Prosecutors are concerned that an expedited parole process might interfere with that procedure.

According to the Detroit News, some prosecutors are worried about more than procedure. "The number of police officers out there is at its lowest in years. And the economy is bad," said Prosecutor Eric Smith. He went on to say, "Toss in the mix an increase in parolees . . . and there is a real potential for trouble."

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