Saturday, July 23, 2011

How Michigan managed to empty its penitentiaries while lowering its crime rate.
When parolees are less likely to reoffend, more prisoners can be let go without jeopardizing public safety. Going hand in hand with Michigan’s improved recidivism rates, therefore, has been a correspondent increase in parole approvals. Over 3,000 more prisoners were paroled in 2009 than were paroled in 2006; approvals for violent offenders have gone up by more than half (from 35 to 55 percent), while approvals for sex offenders have more than quadrupled (from 10 to 50 percent). As a result, during the past three years, the number of state inmates in Michigan has shrunk by 12 percent, reversing a sixteen-year trend of steady prison population growth. The turnaround enabled Governor Jennifer Granholm to shut down ten prisons last year, and an additional eight are slated to be closed by the end of 2010.

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