Michigan prison officials routinely ignored their own policy and mistakenly released 41 parole violators — including murder suspect Patrick Selepak — in the year before Selepak allegedly killed three people, including a pregnant woman and her husband, says the Detroit Free Press. While none of the other 40 noted in an internal review released yesterday were accused of murder, several of are accused of committing serious crimes while back on the street, including armed robbery and drug trafficking. The parolees were released because department employees relied on a misreading of policy, believing that parole violators could not be held without a hearing for more than 45 days.
Corrections Director Patricia Caruso still does not know why employees, were confused about the policy. The Michigan Supreme Court had explicitly ruled that release was not required after 45 days, Caruso said, and the people who handled parole violations should have been well aware of it. Something is amiss, said state Sen. Alan Sanborn, when a “sick, twisted animal” like Selepak can successfully complete an anger management program in prison and be recommended for parole in the first place. Acting Deputy Director John Rubitschun, former head of the parole board who participated in the decision to release Selepak on parole in 2005 after eight years in prison for armed robbery, responded that “none of us has a crystal ball.”