Jones and Shaughnessy announce legislation for work release

Jones and Shaughnessy announce legislation for work release

LANSING— A package of legislation designed to strengthen oversight for prisoners on work or school release was introduced on Thursday, said the bills’ sponsors, state Sen. Rick Jones and state Rep. Deb Shaughnessy. 

Senate Bill 1126, sponsored by Jones, requires that once a prisoner is approved for release, the Department of Corrections Bureau of Probation must provide verification of employment or enrollment to a judge before the inmate is released.  This verification must take place within seven days of the prisoner being approved for work release.

Jones also introduced SB1127, which requires that any felon on school or work release wear an electronic monitoring device, which would be paid for by the inmate.

In 2011, an Eaton County Circuit Court Judge granted work release to a convicted felon based on a phony document provided to the inmate’s attorney from an acquaintance.  Instead of working, this inmate allegedly committed a series of break-ins and then allegedly committed a double homicide against a retired state trooper and his wife. 

This legislation will ensure that an inmate’s work or school has been thoroughly verified and the court is aware of his or her location in an effort to protect Michigan’s citizens from violent felons.

“If these two laws were in place, my friends Mike and Terri Greene would still be alive today, said Jones, R-Grand Ledge.  “There’s no excuse to allow felons on work release without first ensuring public safety.”
Shaughnessy agreed.

“We need to do everything we can to make sure this never happens again,” said Shaughnessy, R-Charlotte. “These were horrific murders that took the lives of two public employees, and this legislation will go a long ways toward protecting the public.  If you are going to be out on work release, it should be verified you have a job before you are let out of jail.  It’s common sense.”

Shaughnessy has two identical measures that she introduced on Thursday in the House, House Bills 5638 and 5639.