As the Michigan Department of Corrections searches for ways to manage its nearly $2-billion budget, it is releasing ex-cons into the community who are committing a growing number of violent crimes, reports the Detroit Free Press. The department and the union that represents parole and probation agents blame each other for the problems. Convicts who should have been behind bars or closely monitored were left on the streets unchecked, attacking, and killing innocent victims.
A Free Press investigation found the state failed to supervise properly some of the most violent of the state’s roughly 70,000 offenders under its watch. A total of 88 parolees and probationers were suspected, arrested or convicted in 95 murders between Jan. 1, 2010, and Aug. 31. The number nearly doubled from 2010 to 2011 — from 21 to 38. In the first eight months of this year, 36 killings have been attributed to ex-cons under state supervision. Among the failures: Offenders weren’t outfitted with court-ordered electronic tethers, agents didn’t send people back to prison for new crimes or failed drug tests, and some agents falsified documents by claiming to have made visits or calls with offenders that never occurred.