A state program designed to ease parolees quietly back into their home neighborhoods is facing resistance in parts of the Detroit area; officials vow to improve communication as they continue to expand it, reports the Detroit News. Under the Michigan Prisoner ReEntry Initiative, the state rents homes in residential neighborhoods for small groups of parolees while they adjust to life after prison. A recent uproar in Mount Clemens forced the Department of Corrections to close two of three homes there. In Ypsilanti, the state withdrew plans to locate a parolee house after upset neighbors protested.
The state says it will be more up front with residents and city officials when they locate a parolee house in a community. “There was a perception that we were trying to slip this into (Mount Clemens) without telling anyone,” corrections department spokesman Russ Marlan said. “One of the things we learned from Mount Clemens is to talk to community leaders, and keep them informed of our plans.” The program operates in eight counties in Michigan; next year, it will expand into seven more, including Oakland. The initiative aims to reduce recidivism rates by giving parolees a place to stay and requiring them to attend job training and conflict resolution classes before their release. Property owners who sign up for the program are paid by the state to rent rooms to parolees.