Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm has made the reinstatement of time off for good behavior for prisoners a key reform measure in the state’s budget plan for 2010-11, says the Detroit Free Press. Sentences of 5,600 prisoners would be recalculated, making them eligible for release within six months. Another 1,900 could be placed in halfway houses, with a combined savings to the prison system of about $130 million in the upcoming fiscal year.
Enacting legislation to bring back “good time” — which Michigan phased out from 1978-1998 — will be daunting. It begins with getting 75 percent of the members in both the state House and Senate to agree to repeal an anti-good time ballot proposal overwhelmingly approved by state voters in 1978. Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson, who led the ballot drive as the county’s prosecutor in 1978, will fight the proposed change. “My comment is, ‘Katie, bar the door.’ The people who get out will commit crimes.” Responds corrections department spokesman Russ Marlan: “There is no correlation between recidivism and good-time release. All of the research shows that these reforms work.”