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Report Says Parole Systems Costs Taxpayers Millions

A new report says Michigan’s parole system is too stingy when it comes to releasing prisoners with sentences of up to life in prison.

As we hear from The Michigan Public Radio Network’s Rick Pluta, the report says that’s costing taxpayers a lot of money.

The report by the Citizens Alliance on Prisons and Public Spending says there are 850 lifers in Michigan prison for second-degree murder and other violent crimes who could be paroled. In many cases, they’re older and the report says very unlikely to re-offend.

In the Legislature, lawmakers like Republican Representative Martin Howrylak are looking for ways to trim corrections costs.

“Instead of being tough on crime, what we’ve actually been is dumb on crime, and now it is time to be smart on crime,” he says.

The state Department of Corrections says life sentences are rarely handed down when judges have other options – and that’s why it makes sense to be extra careful when it comes to granting parole to inmates with sentences of up to life in prison.

Rick Pluta is Senior Capitol Correspondent for the Michigan Public Radio Network. He has been covering Michigan’s Capitol, government, and politics since 1987. His journalism background includes stints with UPI, The Elizabeth (NJ) Daily Journal, The (Pontiac, MI) Oakland Press, and WJR. He is also a lifelong public radio listener.
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