VIDEO: As Seen on MiWeek: Criminal Justice Reform in Michigan Continues to Evolve
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Featured in last night's MiWeek was a segment from One Detroit's recent special, Pathways to Prison. The hour-long program, co-hosted by DPTV anchor, Christy McDonald (@ChristyTV) and Detroit Historical Society Detroit 67 Project Director, Marlowe Stoudamire (@StoudamireM), looks at the forces leading to imprisonment, and the struggles of individuals in America's "get tough on crime" era.
The segment looks at House Bill 4138, called “Presumptive Parole”, and others have titled it, “Safe and Smart Parole Reform”.
Prisoners commonly overstay their minimum sentences. Reform advocates say longer terms do not lead to better outcomes like less recidivism, that is, how often offenders break the law again and end back in prison.
New legislation wants to get more offenders out, sooner. Depending on the statistics you chose to look at, recidivism is around 30 percent in Michigan. But if you look at statistics some law enforcement agencies use, the numbers can get a lot higher, up to 70 percent. It gets complicated but most agree Michigan’s recidivism rate has come down, at least with our state prisons.
The Michigan Department of Correction’s budget this year tops two billion dollars. The state spends about $35,000 dollars a year for each of the $42,000 inmates behind prison walls.
The costs are high, especially compared to other states in the Great Lakes region. Now politicians are calling for change.
Last week, the Michigan Senate passed a 21 bill package, which included items aimed at reducing recidivism costs, ensuring parole guidelines are followed, and putting programs in place to help offenders when they exit the prison system.