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Parole reforms win key allies in Lansing

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Michigan’s top prosecutor is on board with proposed changes to how the state parole board determines if an inmate can be released from prison.

The bill gives the parole board a specific list of objective reasons for denying an inmate parole – like the inmate shows a pattern of ongoing behavior that shows the inmate would be a substantial risk to public safety. Another reason is if the inmate fails to complete a program ordered by the prison system.

The goal is to parole inmates who can safely re-enter society and reduce the prison population.

“We have to look at this from a standpoint and making sure that individuals that are incarcerated, almost all of which are going to be coming out back into society have taken a self-interest in themselves and their rehabilitation,” said bill sponsor Klint Kesto, R-Commerce Township.

Last year, Schuette opposed a proposal to release well-behaved inmates after serving their minimum sentence. But Schuette supports the new proposal, which passed out of the state House this week.

“This is a country of second chances,” Schuette said. “What you want to make sure when someone comes out of prison there’s an opportunity for a job and some hope.”

The legislation is now waiting for action from the state Senate.

You can find more information about HB 5377 on the Legislature's website.

Before becoming the newest Capitol reporter for the Michigan Public Radio Network, Cheyna Roth was an attorney. She spent her days fighting it out in court as an assistant prosecuting attorney for Ionia County. Eventually, Cheyna took her investigative and interview skills and moved on to journalism. She got her masters at Michigan State University and was a documentary filmmaker, podcaster, and freelance writer before finding her home with NPR. Very soon after joining MPRN, Cheyna started covering the 2016 presidential election, chasing after Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, and all their surrogates as they duked it out for Michigan. Cheyna also focuses on the Legislature and criminal justice issues for MPRN. Cheyna is obsessively curious, a passionate storyteller, and an occasional backpacker. Follow her on Twitter at @Cheyna_R
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