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Parole opportunities diminish for some in prison after Gov. Whitmer signs new law

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A new Michigan law will extend the time between parole opportunities for some Michigan inmates.

Parole boards will have the option to delay someone’s hearing for longer than two years under a new law signed Friday.

In 2018, state lawmakers changed the policy to give prisoners with a high chance of getting parole an annual hearing. Those with a low probability went before the board at least every two years.

Governor Gretchen Whitmer said the new law would allow a board to delay that hearing for up to five years through a written waiver.

“This would ensure that survivors of horrific crimes don’t have to relive traumatizing experiences every single year,” Whitmer said at a press conference for the bill signing.

The law is a reaction to some violent crime survivors saying it’s too traumatizing for them to repeat their stories annually to a parole board to keep their aggressor incarcerated.

State Representative Angela Witwer (D-Delta Twp.) co-sponsored the legislation. She said the new law makes the parole process more efficient.

“This process simply wasn’t humane to victims and survivors. What made it worse was that it was unnecessary. When parole boards determine that a criminal is a threat to public safety, then delaying their parole is appropriate,” Witwer said.

The new law takes effect immediately.

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