Michigan often keeps inmates long after other states would have released them for similar crimes, driving up prison costs and eating up a quarter of the state’s general fund, reports the Associated Press. In the two years before she left office in December, former Gov. Jennifer Granholm encouraged the parole board to be more lenient when it came to releasing prisoners who’d served their minimum sentences.
Legislators never passed a bill that would require inmates serve 100 percent of their minimum sentences but no more than 120 percent. New Gov. Rick Snyder says he’s more focused right now on getting his budget and tax changes passed than on parole policy. That has left 8,000 inmates behind bars who have served more than their minimum sentences, costing state taxpayers around $280 million annually. It’s likely to take years for the parole board to consider those 8,000 cases, which make up nearly a fifth of the prison population.