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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 89535 Find in a Library
Title: Relief for Prison Overcrowding - Evaluating Michigan's Accelerated Parole Statute
Journal: University of Michigan Journal of Law Reform  Volume:15  Issue:3  Dated:(Spring 1982)  Pages:547-576
Author(s): F T Judge
Date Published: 1982
Page Count: 30
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: Although Michigan's Prison Overcrowding Emergency Powers Act, which accelerates parole releases during prison overcrowding emergencies, does not eradicate the sources of prison overcrowding, it forestalls court intervention to allow the legislature time to develop long-term reforms.
Abstract: The Prison Overcrowding Emergency Powers Act has not been tested extensively, but it is apparent that this statutory method of regulating prison population holds many advantages over the traditional approaches to prison overcrowding. The costs of implementing the act are far less than any other alternative under consideration. The act does not ignore substantive correctional reform; it maintains strict standards for new prison housing and facilities. All new housing must have single occupancy rooms or cells and must comply with State and Federal laws, and temporary housing is not to be included when assessing design capacity after January 1984. Furthermore, the act is designed to achieve immediate prison population reductions without compromising public safety. The statute excludes prisoners serving life sentences and flat sentences under the felony firearm law. One-half to two-thirds of those likely to be released will come from community-based programs where they have been screened to ensure successful reentry into society. All released prisoners will be within several months of parole. Because the act guarantees immediate relief to prisons, even while a protracted debate on prison reform is pending, court involvement in prison management is minimized. With the spectre of judicial intervention removed, legislators have an opportunity to develop cost-effective, systemic reforms. A total of 140 footnotes are provided.
Index Term(s): Prison overcrowding; State laws
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