In Michigan, provisions relating to pardon and parole are provided under MCLS § 791.231 through MCLS § 791.246.
The Michigan Parole Board
The Michigan parole board consists of 10 members who are appointed by the director. The members should not be employed in the state civil service. Members of the board are appointed to terms of four years each, except that for the members first appointed, four shall serve for terms of four years each, three shall serve for terms of three years each, and three shall serve for terms of two year each. The director may reappoint a member and may remove a member for incompetence, dereliction of duty, malfeasance, misfeasance, or nonfeasance in office. At least four members of the board must be persons who, at the time of their appointment, have never been employed by or appointed to a position in the department of corrections[i].
Conditions of Parole
The eligibility for parole and the minimum term are provided under MCLS § 791.233b. The section also enumerates a list of offenses under various provisions which may affect a prisoner’s eligibility for parole[ii].
In developing the parole guidelines, the department will consider factors including, but not limited to, the following:
- The offense for which the prisoner is incarcerated at the time of parole consideration.
- The prisoner’s institutional program performance.
- The prisoner’s institutional conduct.
- The prisoner’s prior criminal record which includes the recorded criminal history of a prisoner, including all misdemeanor and felony convictions, probation violations, juvenile adjudications for acts that would have been crimes if committed by an adult, parole failures, and delayed sentences.
In developing the parole guidelines, the department may consider the prisoner’s statistical risk screening and the prisoner’s age. The department will also ensure that the parole guidelines do not create disparities in release decisions based on race, color, national origin, gender, religion, or disability[iii].
All paroles are ordered by the parole board and are signed by the chairperson. The board may also give written notice of the order to the sheriff or other police officer of the municipality or county in which the prisoner was convicted, and to the sheriff or other local police officer of the municipality or county to which the paroled prisoner is sent[iv].
A parole order may be rescinded at the discretion of the board for cause before the prisoner is released on parole. However, prior to such revocation, an interview with the prisoner must be conducted by a member of the board within 45 days after receiving the new information which forms the reason for revocation. At least ten days before the interview, the parolee shall receive a copy or summary of the new evidence that is the basis for the interview.
A parole order may be amended at the discretion of the parole board and is not effective until notice of the amendment is given to the parolee.
The parole order must contain the conditions of the parole and shall specifically provide the proper means of supervision of the paroled prisoner in accordance with the rules of the bureau of field services. The order must also contain a condition to pay restitution to the victim of the prisoner’s crime or the victim’s estate if the prisoner was ordered to make restitution pursuant to the William Van Regenmorter crime victim’s rights act, 1985. The parole order may also require the parolee to pay a parole supervision fee or the minimum state cost, if the minimum state cost has not been paid. If the parolee is required to be registered under the Sex Offenders Registration Act, the parole order must contain a condition requiring the parolee to comply with that Act[v].
A probation officer, a parole officer, a peace officer, or an employee of the department other than a probation or parole officer who is authorized by the director to arrest parole violators may arrest a paroled prisoner without a warrant and detain him/her in any jail in Michigan if such officer has reasonable grounds to believe that the prisoner has violated parole or a warrant has been issued for his/her return[vi].
Within ten days after an arrest for an alleged violation of parole, the parolee is entitled to a preliminary hearing to determine the violation of parole. Prior to such hearing, the accused parolee has to be given written notice of the charges, time, place, and purpose of the preliminary hearing.
At the preliminary hearing, the accused parolee is entitled to the following rights:
- Disclosure of the evidence against him/her.
- The right to testify and present relevant witnesses and documentary evidence.
- The right to confront and cross-examine adverse witnesses unless the person conducting the preliminary hearing finds on the record that a witness may be subjected to risk of harm if his/her identity is revealed.
A preliminary hearing may be postponed beyond the 10-day time limit on the written request of the parolee, but the department has no right to postpone such hearing[vii].
If a paroled prisoner has faithfully performed all of the conditions and obligations of parole for the period of time fixed in the order of parole, and has obeyed all of the rules and regulations adopted by the parole board, the prisoner is deemed to have served the full sentence required. The parole board will then enter a final order of discharge and issue the paroled prisoner a certificate of discharge. However, parole will not be granted for a period less than two years in a case of murder, actual forcible rape, robbery armed, kidnapping, extortion, or breaking and entering an occupied dwelling in the nighttime unless the maximum time remaining to be served on the sentence is less than two years[viii].
[i] MCLS § 791.231a.
[iii] MCLS § 791.233e.
[iv] MCLS § 791.236.
[vi] MCLS § 791.239.
[vii] MCLS § 791.239a.
[viii] MCLS § 791.242.