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Parole Overhaul Clears State House

Michigan would release more inmates on parole under bills approved by the state House on Thursday.

The legislation would guarantee release for many prisoners who’ve served their minimum sentences and are deemed unlikely to reoffend. It does not apply to inmates currently behind bars.

The state spends $2 billion a year on corrections.

Republican state Rep. Kurt Heise (Plymouth) says for too long the state has spent too much of that money to house inmates who pose no threat to public safety.

“We put people in jail and we built prisons because we wanted to be tough on crime. Did it work?” he said.

“We’re spending billions of dollars to put people in prison when we could be spending that money on our kids, on our roads, or maybe even giving some of it back to the taxpayers.”

Thursday’s vote saw Republicans and Democrats both split on their support for the House Bill 4138. It received bipartisan support, as well as bipartisan opposition.

“We all understand and agree we spend an enormous amount of money on the corrections budget. However, any solution motivated by savings and not safety is a flawed experiment from the very beginning,” said state Rep. Vanessa Guerra (D-Bridgeport).

Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette has long opposed the legislation. He released a statement on Thursday saying it “jeopardizes the safety of Michigan citizens.”

The bills now go to the state Senate.

Here’s a link to the bill –
http://legislature.mi.gov/doc.aspx?2015-HB-4138

Image credit: Flickr/Scott Hadfield

This post is a part of Michigan Public Radio Network.

The Michigan Public Radio Network is a consortium of 10 licensed public broadcasters with 31 transmitters serving nearly 900,000 listeners statewide. MPRN stations are committed to sharing resources to get news and information to public radio listeners all across Michigan.

About the Author

Jake Neher

Detroit Today - Producer & Special Projects Reporter

Jake Neher is a producer & reporter for Detroit Today

Jake.Neher@wdet.org   Follow @GJNeher

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