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MI corrections budget calls for "good-time" prisoner releases

By Laura Weber, Michigan Public Radio Network

http://stream.publicbroadcasting.net/production/mp3/wkar/local-wkar-885523.mp3

LANSING, MI –

Governor Granholm's budget proposal for the Department of Corrections would close four or five prisons and release thousands of prisoners. A state Senate committee will open hearings Tuesday on some of her proposals to save money on corrections.

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The so-called "good-time" bills would allow for the early parole of prisoners who showed good behavior while serving their sentences.

The bills were discussed by a state House panel at the end of last year. But a large turn-out of victims and relatives of victims who testified against the measures put the legislation on the back-burner. The chair of that committee says no violent or sexual criminals would be released early. But he says there is work that needs to be done to ensure prisoners serve at least their minimum sentence. Some Senate Republicans say they are opposed to changing sentencing laws.

Governor Granholm has called for about $140 million to be cut from the Corrections budget. The "good-time" bills would save the state an estimated $100 million a year.

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