The media is pushing back on the disinformation campaign about evidenced based parole reform. Examples:
Brian Dickerson’s column in the Detroit Free Press:
Why fear-mongers are losing the prison reform fight
For the last decade or so, smart people in both major parties have been looking for ways to reduce the $2-billion bite the Michigan Department of Corrections takes out of taxpayers’ wallets each year.
But until recently, the reformers’ best ideas have been stymied by state Attorney General Bill Schuette and his fear-mongering coterie in law enforcement, who warn (with scant evidence to support their apocalyptic forecasts) that even modest efforts to reduce the state’s prison population will have dire consequences for public safety.
Now, finally, there is a glimmer of hope that cooler heads will disregard Schuette’s bluster and enact the sensible parole reforms that Gov. Rick Snyder and legislative leaders on both sides of the aisle agree are long overdue.
Read the rest online here: http://www.freep.com/story/opinion/columnists/brian-dickerson/2015/10/17/dickerson-prison-reform/73984346/
Battle Creek Enquirer editorial (which was reprinted in Petoskey News, Lansing State Journal and Holland Sentinel papers):
Editorial: Presumptive parole is safe for Michigan
It’s infuriating when politicians, bereft of facts, resort to fear-mongering to get their way in public policy debates. When it’s the state’s top law enforcement official, it’s disgraceful.
Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette’s intransigence on so-called “tough on crime” policies is nothing new, but he sinks to a new low in his opposition HB 4138, better known as the presumptive parole bill.
This bipartisan legislation, which cleared the Michigan House of Representatives earlier this month, would save Michigan taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars by reducing prison populations without compromising public safety.
More importantly, it would give inmates with good behavior the opportunity to rebuild their lives — and become productive taxpayers — after completing their minimum sentences.
In other words, there’s little if any downside, which is why it has the support of Gov. Rick Snyder.
So Schuette, whose gubernatorial ambitions are well known, is manufacturing a downside.
Read the rest online here: http://www.battlecreekenquirer.com/story/opinion/editorials/2015/10/15/editorial-presumptive-parole-safe-michigan/74019026/
Nolan Finley column in the Detroit News:
Editor’s Note: Minimum sentence bill not dangerous
The law and order crowd is mounting an all-out effort to sink a common sense prison reform bill, fanning fears that it would release dangerous criminals on the streets.
Local sheriffs and prosecutors, with an assist from Attorney Gen. Bill Schuette, are labeling the bill that would release some model prisoners after they’ve served their minimum sentences an “automatic parole bill.”
It is hardly that. The proposal from Rep. Kurt Heise, R-Plymouth, would simply make it easier for convicts who have behaved in prison to gain their freedom once they’ve served their minimum time.
That should be the point of a minimum sentence — to encourage good behavior and to reward inmates for rehabilitating their lives.
Heise’s bill would require multiple layers of review to ensure the inmates pose little risk to society. No one will be released automatically. Those convicted of sex crimes and most murders would not be eligible at all.
Keeping inmates in prison who are no longer dangerous does not serve society well. Michigan spends $2 billion a year on Corrections; it will have to cut those costs — or raise taxes — to fix its roads, improve education and meet its other needs.
Read the rest online: http://www.detroitnews.com/story/opinion/columnists/nolan-finley/2015/10/21/editor-note-minimum-sentence-bill/74316498/
Jack Lessenberry column:
Politics & Prejudices: Scary Bill Schuette
By Jack Lessenberry
“I’ve been watching Michigan politics for a very long time, and I can’t remember anyone more potentially dangerous than Bill Schuette, our demagogue of an attorney general. . . .
Now, his main cause seems to be doing anything to prevent any prisoners from being released early or any other move to reduce Michigan’s bloated and costly prison population, even when they are clearly no threat to society.
Last year, he managed to use his influence to largely kill criminal sentencing reform. Now, he is attempting to kill a Republican “presumptive parole” bill that would make it much easier for inmates who have behaved in jail to be released after they’ve served their minimum time.
Schuette told a TV audience that the bill “endangers the safety of our communities,” and seemed to say it stemmed from “anti-cop sentiment, anti-law enforcement sentiment.”
That didn’t fly with State Rep. Kurt Heise, (R-Plymouth) the chair of the House Criminal Justice committee. He told the MLive news service he was “very offended by that remark.”
Read the full article in the Detroit Metro Times here:
* Please check either www.Michiganlegislature.org site or CAPPS website for details of bill language.