A young Michigan woman, on probation after serving six months for nearly killing a fellow motorist in a fit of road rage, routinely drove to see her probation officer even though her license was suspended, says the Detroit Free Press. Oakland County Judge Nanci Grant could not jail her because of a lack of space. .”It always troubles me when I am unable to send somebody to jail, who deserves to go to jail, because there is no room,” Grant said. “But the alternative is that we have to release people early, and that’s not a good choice, either.”
Taxpayers are paying to house inmates at nearly $100 a day in cases when the offenders couldn’t afford bonds as low as $100. Judges are sentencing offenders to jail time for lesser crimes, and for longer periods, than a decade ago. Those sentences add to the pressures on jails. Jails in Oakland, Macomb and Wayne counties last year released more than 2,000 inmates early, mostly nonviolent offenders like shoplifters and those who write bad checks. Judges say they are in a bind because they’re coping with packed jails while answering to voters who elect them to hold criminals accountable.