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Politics & Government

Advocates: Schuette spreading misinformation about parole legislation

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Supporters of overhauling Michigan’s parole system are pushing back against Attorney General Bill Schuette’s claims about the bill.

Schuette says House Bill 4138 would compromise public safety by allowing violent criminals to be released from prison early.

The bill's supporters say Schuette’s claims are false and that he’s spreading misinformation about the bill.

“I’m not in the business of accusing anybody of lying, but the information he’s giving out about the parole system and about what the bill will do is certainly not accurate,” said Barbara Levine with the Citizens Alliance on Prisons & Public Spending, which has long advocated for the parole changes in Michigan.

“I mean, we’re talking about very low re-offense rates. So it’s a misinterpretation of the bill to do all of this fear mongering,” she said while appearing as a guest on the Michigan Public Television program Off the Record.

Levine says Schuette’s claim ignores the fact that the legislation only applies to inmates who are deemed to have a low risk of committing new crimes after being released from prison.

She says locking people up longer does not improve public safety and wastes taxpayer dollars.

The legislation cleared the state House earlier this month. It’s unclear what its future will be in the state Senate.

But state Senate Majority Leader Arlan Meekhof, R-West Olive, has also taken issue with Schuette’s statements about the legislation. He publicly asked the attorney general to tone down rhetoric claiming that support for the bill is fueled in part by an “anti-cop,” anti-law-enforcement sentiment.

Schuette and Meekhof are both seen as possible, if not likely, Republican candidates for governor in 2018.

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