Law Enforcement Leaders Speak Out Against Bill to Release Prisoners Early
Prosecutors and law enforcement leaders around the state are trying to stop a cost cutting proposal that would let Michigan offenders get out of prison early. The proposal would bring back a system the state did away with in the late 70's. The system lets offenders earn credit for good behavior, allowing them to get out of prison early — in some cases several years before they serve their minimum sentence. The goal of the bill is to save money, but some don't think it's the risk. Many in law enforcement are calling the proposal an “injustice” to victims, communities, and the people of Michigan. “Historically, 50 percent of people released on parole commit new crimes,” says Charles Koop, Antrim County Prosecutor. Koop was joined by about dozen other prosecutors in Traverse City on Tuesday to get the message out. “One of our key jobs is to keep the public safe,” says State Representative Kevin Elsenheimer. “We can't be doing that by reinstating the revolving door in our Michigan prisons to save money.” Elsenheimer says the bill is gaining traction in Lansing because it could save the state hundreds of millions of dollars. The Department of Corrections also supports the proposal. “We're looking for ways we can continue to right size our prison population while protecting the citizens of Michigan,” says John Cordell, Spokesman for the MDOC. “This bill would bring us in line with other states throughout the United States… It also allows us a little more flexibility on how to deal with the prison population,” he says. 9&10's Ryan Raiche and Photojournalist Jeremy Erickson have the story.