March 29, 2012

By Richard Stapleton, associate director, Citizens Alliance on Prisons and Public Spending, guest column, Bridge Magazine

Ultimately, the least expensive prisoner is one who isn’t there. While the prison population has dropped by about 8,000 over the last five years, the Michigan Department of Corrections’ projections anticipate no further decline. But the projections assume the status quo on policies.

Those assumptions can be changed. One big step would be to adopt “presumptive parole,” a statutory requirement that people who have good institutional records and are not currently dangerous be paroled when they have served their minimum sentences. The Citizens Alliance on Prisons and Public Spending estimates the annual cost savings would be $236 million.

Read>> Real truth in sentencing could really save big prison dollars