Sheriff: Current parole system adding danger to community - WNEM TV 5

Sheriff: Current parole system adding danger to community

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A robbery at a Meijer store, an arson fire and robbery attempt at a Home Depot, an assault leading to a police chase that ended only after the car hit a parked train, and the murder of Connie Pajunen.

All the suspects in those crimes have one thing in common, they were out on parole.

It's a system that Saginaw County Sheriff William Federspiel said is broken.

"They're just adding more danger to the community by paroling people and having this, so whatever system they have in place I’d like them to look at it and find a way to fix it," Federspiel said.

Federspiel fears it will only get worse if lawmakers pass a bill that would fast track parole for a lot of people in the state's prison system.

"In the last four weeks in Saginaw County and the surrounding counties of my jurisdiction we've seen some pretty bad things happening," Federspiel said.

If a prisoner is deemed to have a "high probability of parole" score that person could be released after serving the minimum sentence. All in an effort for the state to reduce costs for the department of corrections.

Gov. Rick Snyder disagrees with the sheriff and supports the idea of presumptive parole.

House speaker Kevin Cotter is also in favor of the legislation.

"With good corrections the focus should be on rehabilitation, not in keeping people locked up that are otherwise not a threat," Cotter said in an October interview.

For his part, the sheriff wants to see prisoners serve their maximum sentence, not minimum.

He said if lawmakers supporting the bill had to fight crime, they would agree with him.

"Do they live in the neighborhoods where these people are going to be coming back to? I doubt it," Federspiel said. "If you do or you patrol in those neighborhoods or you work in those neighborhoods where you know individuals are going to be coming back to those neighborhoods, you may have a different definition of what it means for a safer community or paroling someone."

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