“Good Time” saves money and reduces the prison population

 

Rev. Edward Pinkney, Benton Harbor, MI.
ILLUSTRATION/BYRON

BENTON HARBOR, MI — Eddie Treadwell, a prisoner at Coldwater Prison Facility, said Michigan’s increased use of habitual offender sentences, the elimination of “Good Time,” and increased consecutive sentences causes prison time to increase. I strongly agree with Mr. Treadwell.

The Michigan Department of Corrections reported that the prison system grew increasingly crowded from 1985 to 1992. Michigan built 23 prisons. The population rose to 38,628. Another wave of prison building occurred from 1993 to 2000. Eleven more prisons were built. The population peaked at 51,515 in 2006 and then began to decline from 2007 to 2012. Nine camps were closed. In 2018, the Department reported that the state has almost 40,000 prisoners.

Many reports have analyzed Michigan’s prison numbers and made suggestions to reduce it. I suggest for starters that the citizens be informed of all relevant data so that they are aware of the facts that brought on mass incarceration here in Michigan. I want everybody to remember that long-term incarceration increases the prison population and Michigan is one of the only states that require prisoners to serve 100% of their prison time. Most states in the U.S. have some form of Good Time credit, which helps reduce the population and provides incentives for good behavior.

In 2009 the Michigan Department of Corrections estimated that Good Time could reduce the prison population by 7,550 within four to six months after enactment. This was based in part on assumptions that the average time served to date of parole eligibility would be about 85% of the minimum sentence and that about 70% of those eligible would be approved for parole. The Department also estimated that the net cost savings under Good Time could be about $107 million annually. Actual cost savings in the first fiscal year of implementation would depend on when Good Time is enacted and on how many prisoners could be processed and how quickly and at what cost community placements and supervision could be established. These figures came from the last time Good Time was proposed. Mr. Eddie Treadwell and I did not come up with these figures out of the air.

Let the truth be told. “Good Time” is one of the best solutions to not only saving money, but to reducing the prison population. We need your help. Please contact me at 1-269-925-0001.

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