Law enforcement leaders against parole bill in Lansing - WNEM TV 5

Law enforcement leaders against parole bill in Lansing

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Mark Reene is the Tuscola County prosecutor. He opposes legislation that – if enacted into law – would fast-track parole for a lot of people in Michigan's prison system.

"The prosecuting attorney's association is opposed to the bill in its current form," Reene said.

If a prisoner is deemed to have a "high probability of parole" score that person will not be considered a menace to society and will be released upon serving the minimum sentence. Reene said it’s a bad idea.

"Twenty-three percent of offenders, of parole offenders, are re-arrested within a year. You have 24 percent of probationers after they're released from supervision re-offend and get arrested," Reene said.

Proponents of the proposed law say the bill would help take pressure off of the state's cash strapped corrections system.

According to the state's House Fiscal Agency, Michigan has one of the largest and most expensive prison systems in the nation, with about 20 percent of the state's annual budget devoted to corrections.

But Reene argues the state has already taken steps to reduce its prison population over the last seven years to the tune of 8,000 people. He said he believes Michigan is ahead of the curve when compared to the rest of the country. The prosecutor tells us this bill will only put more people in harm's way.

"Releasing more individuals sooner is not going to make our community safer. It's going to put more people at risk," Reene said.

The parole reform bill has already passed in the state house.

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