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Minimum Sentencing PDF Print E-mail
Written by Leah Francour   
Wednesday, 03 June 2009 23:47

The history of Michigan's sentencing is based on minimum sentencing guidelines that have been altered in the past few decades. A minimum sentence can range from a few months to life in prison. It is a mandatory sentence that limits judicial discretion by law. In Michigan, all three branches of government play a role in sentencing. In order to provide sentencing norms, minimize disparity, and to promote consistency without taking away discretion, the Supreme Court has the ability to review sentences and also to make sentencing guidelines. The enactment of sentencing guidelines established in 1998 required that all offenders serve at least the minimum sentence imposed by the court taking away any early release options for good behavior, otherwise known in Michigan as "truth-in-sentencing."

 

Each prisoner costs the state approximately $32,000 a year. Sentencing people for longer than necessary is extremely costly and some even argue ineffective. A plan, which could potentially save the state $262 million, is being considered in the state legislature. The plan would shorten prison sentences and make Michigan's sentencing more similar to other states. The plan would call for 4,300 additional prisoners to be released by 2015. This would obviously be largely beneficial to the states finances. Prisoners would be reviewed by a parole board and would not be jailed any longer than 120 percent of the minimum sentence if they were not considered a high risk to society. The plan also calls to rehabilitate newly released prisoners rather than keeping them jailed for longer than necessary. Tightening the timeframe in sentencing policies would call for sentences to be more representative of the crimes committed consequently encouraging the state not to keep prisoner's longer than necessary. Michigan's budget needs to be tightened and this is one way to do it. Opponents to this policy consider this route to be too soft on crime.

 

Sources:

Michigan's Sentencing Guidelines by Shelia Deming

Lansing Consider new prison sentencing policy, The Michigan Daily

 

 

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