About half of those identified as committing homicides in Detroit in 2007 were on parole or probation, says Police Chief Ella Bully-Cummings, according to the Detroit Free Press. Detroit reported 394 homicides for 2007, and of the 185 identified perpetrators, 92 were on parole or probation. That’s a 3.6 percent drop in homicides from 411 in 2006, but it’s essentially the same number of homicides as Los Angeles, which has four times as many residents as Detroit.
Bully-Cummings cricitized Gov. Jennifer Granholm’s Michigan Prisoner Re-entry Initiative, which freed some nonviolent offenders. “When people come out and there are no jobs, they’re going to fall back to what put them there to begin with,” Bully-Cummings said. “Especially if they’re going back to the same ‘hood, hooking up with the same boys.” Russ Marlan, spokesman for the Michigan Department of Corrections, said the parole board cannot release anyone who would be a menace to society, and the prisoner re-entry program has greatly stepped up the state’s effort to assist former prisoners with transitioning back into society. The recidivism rate of Michigan parolees is 48 percent, which is better than the 58 percent national rate. The rate is down 21 percent since 2006 in Michigan, a decline Marlan credits to the re-entry program.