Governor signs bills to increase public safety

Governor signs bills to increase public safety

LANSING—A package of legislation designed to strengthen oversight for prisoners on work or school release was signed by Gov. Rick Snyder on Wednesday, said sponsor Sen. Rick Jones.

“These are common sense reforms that will increase efficiency and safety at no cost to tax payers,” said Jones, R-Grand Ledge.  “While I was in law enforcement, it was not uncommon for inmates to violate the terms of their work release agreement.

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. 

Public Act 610 of 2012, 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 PA 612 of 2012, which requires that any felon on school or work release wear an electronic monitoring device, which would be paid for by the inmate.

“This law may have prevented two of my friends from being brutally murdered,” Jones said. “The goal of our corrections system is to rehabilitate prisoners so that one day they can be productive members of society, and work release is a critical part of that process. However, public safety must be a chief concern when deciding if an inmate can be granted work or education release. By adding a GPS tether you allow law enforcement officials to constantly monitor the location of inmates who are out on work release.”