Wednesday, May 6, 2020

Wayne County seeking to expedite release of 168 inmates as coronavirus spreads in prisons — but they need the victims' help

Posted By on Wed, May 6, 2020 at 11:42 AM

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As the coronavirus rages through Michigan prisons — where nearly half of all tested inmates held in state-run prisons are testing positive for the virus — the Michigan Department of Corrections has been working to expedite the parole of 168 eligible prisoners who have served their minimum sentences.

The MDOC is asking Wayne County prosecutors to waive the 28-day waiting period between when the Michigan Parole Board approves parole and when that individual is released. However, Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy says it would be “extremely irresponsible” to waive the 28-day period without sufficient victim contact information for the 168 prisoners up for release, some of whom have committed violent crimes.

“Some of these prisoners have committed murder, criminal sexual conduct, armed robbery, and other very serious crimes,” Worthy said in a press release. “We will perform our due diligence as expeditiously as we can. In some cases we will be able to do this swiftly and we will waive the balance of the 28 days so that these prisoners can leave the prison system faster.”

Worthy says that for some cases where there is no victim information, they may need more time beyond the 28 days. If there isn't a victim associated with the prisoner's crime, they will be released after the waiting period.

“We owe this to victims of crime,” Worthy said. “We urge the MDOC to provide us with a faster way to receive more information. With better cooperation, we may be able to move more quickly.”

The Wayne County Prosecutor's Office is asking that victims contact the Victims Services Unit. A list of prisoners approved for parole can be found here.

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