Double homicide shows problems with inmate work release system

LANSING—State Sen. Rick Jones, R-Grand Ledge, joined the Eaton County Sheriff Department and the Michigan State Police (MSP) at their news conference on Thursday regarding the double homicide that occurred in Delta Township in September. 

Michael Greene, a retired MSP sergeant, and his wife Terri Greene were brutally murdered in their home.  Sheriff Mike Raines asked Jones to come to the press conference and work on new state requirements for inmate work release.

“Mike and Terri Greene were personal friends of mine; this horrible crime could have been prevented. If the Circuit Court Probation Department did a proper job then they would have known this suspect has a history of fraud and was not a good candidate to put on work release,” said Jones.

Currently, to be considered for work release an inmate must provide proof that they have valid job to go to.  Factors such as behavior, the nature of their offense and substance abuse history are also taken into consideration.

The Circuit Court Probation Department investigates and determines potential candidates and advises the judge presiding over the case. Once the judge makes a decision, a court order mandating the inmate’s release is sent to the sheriff in the county where they will be working.  

The suspect accused of murdering the Greenes was on court-ordered work release. Further investigation by the sheriff found that the suspect falsified fraudulent job information and an employer that did not exist. This allowed the suspect to have unfettered access to the outside world and the freedom and ability to commit this terrible crime.

“I’m drafting legislation that would require the Circuit Court Probation Department to check to make sure a work release inmate is reporting to a legitimate job on time,” Jones said. “This could easily be done with a phone call or an e-mail.  The legislation would further require that any felon released from jail on work release would wear a tether with GPS which would be paid for the by inmate and fortunately would not be a burden to taxpayers.”