Keeping inmates in prison past their earliest parole dates does little to reduce crime, according to a study by a Michigan public policy group. The findings come as Michigan plans to parole 3,000 more felons this year than in previous years to curb rising prison costs, reports the Detroit News. The study by the nonprofit Citizens Alliance on Prisons and Public Spending followed for four years 76,721 Michigan prisoners released for the first time between 1986 and 1999 to determine whether they came back to prison for a new crime or parole violation.
Researchers concluded that denying parole when prisoners first become eligible does very little to reduce crime rates. The data showed those convicted of homicide and sex offenses rarely commit new crimes against people, and serving more time does not increase the likelihood of success upon release. The study found that while 18 percent returned to prison with a new sentence within four years of their release, only 4.5 percent were returned for a new crime against a person. Returns for larceny, drugs and burglary were by far the most common.