In Michigan
4:42 pm
Tue November 17, 2009

MI House debates early release of prisoners

LANSING, MI –
The state Department of Corrections says taxpayers would save more than $100 million a year if prisoners were paroled earlier for good behavior.

A House panel is discussing a set of bills that would allow prisoners to collect good-behavior credits to reduce their minimum-sentences. Many prosecutors say that would be unfair to victims who find peace-of-mind in violent offenders serving the entire sentences given to them.

Angela O'Hara's daughter was molested by a man who is now in prison for the crime.

"Our daughter says how long is he going to be in jail for?' and we tell them a certain amount of time - 18 to 40," she says. "And so that means that 18 is the minimum and we say Yes! That's it! Yay, we won!' and it's all happy-joy-joy. And then you find out we have to go back on what we said because of this new bill coming up."

The chairman of the House panel says the legislation is a work in progress and will need changes - such as not allowing murderers, rapists and pedophiles to be eligible for early-parole credits.