The Detroit Free Press endorses Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm’s “sensible record of releasing ailing and elderly prisoners whose cost of incarceration outweighs any continuing threat to public safety.” Granholm has commuted the sentences of 124 prisoners in her seven-year-tenure, including 38 murderers. The newspaper agrees that the feelings of murder victims’ families “are no trifling matter,” but neither is the cost of a still-bloated prison population.
Every tax dollar spent on incarceration is a dollar unavailable for police protection, preschool education, drug and alcohol courts, and other programs that have reduced violent crime, editorializes the Free Press. State legislators, who have failed to confront the over-incarceration crisis, should adopt overdue reforms that give judges and parole boards more discretion to determine when the objectives of incarceration have been achieved, says the newspaper.