Michigan Senate Passes “Objective Parole” Bill

On Wednesday Sept. 5, a bill that allows the Michigan Parole Board to grant parole based on objective factors passed with broad support in the Michigan State Senate.

House Bill 5377, the Objective Parole Bill, now heads to Governor Rick Snyder, who has indicated support for the measure.

The measure, sponsored by Rep. Klint Kesto (R), introduces the use of objective criteria by the parole board in granting parole to individuals who have served their minimum sentence in the Michigan Department of Corrections.

The bill is predicted to reduce the Michigan budget by $40 million over five years.

“Objective Parole continues the hard work of promoting evidence-based criminal justice reform, which is something that I have championed throughout my time in the legislature,” said State Senator John Proos (R).

“Making sure that returning citizens are prepared to succeed with objective standards makes sense since more than 90 percent of inmates in our prison system will one day be returning home to our communities. Ensuring that individuals know the standards to which they will be held accountable only increases their chances for success upon their release and will better allow for their successful reintegration back into society.”

Recently, a first-of-its-kind survey of victims of crime in Michigan, commissioned by the Alliance for Safety and Justice, a national organization working with crime survivors in Michigan, found that a significant majority of crime victims prefer a balanced approach to public safety – greater investments in prevention, rehabilitation and trauma recovery for victims.

The Objective Parole measure was supported by business and civic organizations, including groups as diverse as Business Leaders for Michigan, Safe and Just Michigan, Christian Coalition, Justice Fellowship, Hope Network, Michigan Catholic Conference, and the Western Michigan Policy Forum.

Doug Devos, past chair of the Forum, noted that “laws and policies that were enacted long ago with the understandable intent to make Michigan residents safer by being ‘tough on crime’ have had the unintended consequence of being ‘tough on taxpayers.’  But even worse these policies have been devastating for individuals, families and communities as those who have served their time begin to assimilate back into society and try to find a productive pathway forward.”

Robert Rooks, Vice President of the Alliance for Safety and Justice, added: “With this measure, Michigan lawmakers and law enforcement are demonstrating a clear commitment to public safety, working together to pursue smart solutions that break cycles of crime, reduce recidivism and improve safety. We are honored to work alongside these leaders and look forward to continuing to build a safer Michigan together.”