Spring 2011  |  CAPPS Consensus newsletter

This article, on Page 18 of the Spring 2011 Consensus, includes information about current parole board members and changes made in parole board operations.

Gov. Rick Snyder has abolished the 15-person parole board and replaced it with a new 10-member board whose associates have been appointed by the Michigan Department of Corrections(MDOC) director. Snyder also abolished the Executive Clemency Advisory Council.

In 1992, the seven-member civil service parole board was abolished. It was replaced by a ten-person board whose members were to be appointed by the director of the MDOC. While the actual membership has changed repeatedly, the structure of the board was consistent until 2009, when then-Governor Granholm increased the size of the board to 15 and assumed the appointment authority personally. (See “Parole board expands, named by Governor,” Consensus, Winter 2010.)

Granholm’s goal was to increase capacity temporarily so that the board could work through a large backlog of prisoners who had been repeatedly denied parole. Her executive order included a process for returning the board size to 10 as members’ terms expired. Granholm also established the Clemency Council, a group of unpaid volunteers, to give her advice on commutation applications that was independent of the parole board’s recommendations.

By changing the board size and appointment authority, Gov. Snyder is simply returning to aspects of the 1992 statutory scheme. However, the scheme also contemplates that board members will be appointed for staggered four-year terms and be removable only for “incompetency, dereliction of duty, malfeasance, misfeasance or nonfeasance in office.” Nonetheless, five members of the existing board whose terms had not expired were not reappointed.

Read>> CAPPS Consensus Spring 2011