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Editorial: Lawmakers have much work to do to fix Michigan

January 11, 2010  |  The Detroit News

The Detroit News includes “good time” to reduce prison sentences in this excerpt from a 2010 editorial that is still relevant today. 

Lawmakers returning to Lansing this week should dig right into pending legislation for making Michigan better. With a $1.8 billion budget shortfall looming, there isn’t time for the traditional period of lax activity while awaiting Gov. Jennifer Granholm’s State of the State address, scheduled this year for Feb. 3.

Legislators can start with important proposals for the retooling of state government that have been put off for too long. Then they could move from those to other worthwhile measures, such as dumping the Michigan Business tax surcharge and improving legal representation for poor people charged with crimes.

Ideas that should be given priority include . . . Legislation to restore the concept of using “good time” to reduce prison sentences. Lawmakers have made important changes in parole policies that have helped stem the costly increase in Michigan’s prison population, but the Corrections budget still verges on $2 billion and is unaffordable. Organizations such as the Detroit Regional Chamber have noted that the state could save another $400 million by adopting Corrections policies more like those of neighboring states and the federal government. Click here to read the full report.

 

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