The Michigan Corrections Department has taken issue with a Detroit News article that the state says suggested that most inmates in their 50s pose little risk to the public. In a letter to the News, corrections spokesman Russ Marlan says the newspaper failed to mention that most offenders mentioned in the story committed their crime while in their 50s. More than half of the prisoners mentioned in the story were 59 or older when they were convicted of sex offenses against very young children, Marlan says. Two of the prisoners were in their 70s when they committed “horrendous sexual acts” against a 10-year-old neighbor girl and a 6-year-old granddaughter.
Marlan says the News made the improper assumption that crime victims are able-bodied adults who would have no problem fending off a 70-year-old attacker. More than half the prisoners featured in the story had victims under 10. “We shouldn’t assume that just because a prisoner reaches some magical age, he or she is no longer dangerous,” says Marlan. “Each case is unique and must be looked at individually. Indiscriminately releasing elderly prisoners is a dangerous way to run a corrections system.”