GOP Report: Prison Release Plan Is Risky

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Republican lawmakers released a report Tuesday warning that plans to release thousands of parole-eligible inmates from Michigan prisons will put the public at risk.

Instead, the state Department of Corrections should continue and expand efforts to keep ex-inmates from returning to prison, according to the GOP-endorsed report. The report also recommends a serious look at creating special courts for the mentally ill and the expansion of drug treatment courts to handle some parole violators.

The recommendations were released by the Senate Subcommittee on Prison Reform and Public Safety, which Republicans created after the state announced budget-saving plans to parole more prisoners and close a Jackson prison.

Democrats on the panel welcomed some suggestions but also criticized the report for blasting plans by Democratic Gov. Jennifer Granholm's administration to parole more prisoners.

"This just became a governor-bad, Senate Republicans-good type of exercise," said Sen. Michael Prusi, a Democrat from Ishpeming.

The Corrections Department has scaled back plans to release parole-eligible prisoners to make sure what it says are only nonviolent or sick inmates get out. That includes 2,200 nonviolent, non-sex offenders and possibly another 1,000 with chronic health problems, regardless of their crime.

Senate Judiciary Chairman Wayne Kuipers, a Holland Republican who headed the special subcommittee, said he expects legislation to be proposed that would enact some of the report's recommendations.

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