According to the Holland Sentinel, the Michigan legislature is considering a new proposal allowing good-time credit for inmates who behave well. Advocates argue that restoring the “good-time” policy would relieve overcrowding in prisons and save the state money.
As a Michigan sex crimes criminal defense attorneys, we support these reforms. The proposed reforms provide a way to reward prisoners for good-behavior who are no longer a threat to society. Often those in the prison system don’t deserve to be there, but are incarcerated as the result of a bad defense or a youthful indiscretion. In fact, a representative of Michigan Department of Corrections notes that prosecutor’s opposition to the proposals ignores the fact that allowing good-time credit is common in correctional systems across the country, and is well understood by the public, even victims.
Along with “good-time” credits, the proposal calls for new sentencing guidelines to divert hundreds of offenders from prison to lower-cost community corrections programs, and repeal Michigan’s juvenile lifer law. As a result, about 5,600 prisoner’s sentences would be recalculated and another 1,900 could be placed in halfway houses. The proposal would save the prison system about $139 million in the upcoming fiscal year.
As sex crimes defense attorneys, we believe that these reforms are necessary. Offenders should be granted “good-time” credits for good behavior.