MICHIGANVOTES: Series of Bills Introduced Relating to State and Local Correctional Facilities

(Provided by MichiganVotes.org)

The Michigan House and Senate are in recess until after election day, so this report describes some bills that have been introduced related to prisoners in state and local correctional facilities (prisons and jails).

House Bill 6363: Revise state rules on prisoner phone access

Introduced by Rep. Tenisha Yancey D-Grosse Pointe, to prohibit the state or local governments from imposing a surcharge on prisoner phone calls and other communication services. The bill would require the state corrections department to provide communication services to prisoners at no cost; have at least one phone for every 10 prisoners in a facility; let prisoners use “communication services” (phone, email, texts and video) for at least than 120 minutes each day, and more. Similar provisions would apply to juveniles in state custody. Referred to committee, no further action at this time.

House Bill 6181: Require state unemployment bureau get weekly prisoners list

Introduced by Rep. Michele Hoitenga R-Manton, to require the Department of Corrections to provide the state unemployment agency a searchable database of relevant prisoner data each week. Referred to committee, no further action at this time.

House Bill 5760: Give “prisoners who menstruate" supplies upon release’

Introduced by Rep. Shri Thanedar D-Detroit, to require prison authorities to give “a prisoner who menstruates” a one-month supply of feminine hygiene products when the prisoner is released. Current law requires giving released prisoners a ride or carfare home, $75, proper clothes for the season, a “prisoner ID card” and documents needed to get a state ID card if they are available. Referred to committee, no further action at this time.

House Bill 5454: Expand prisoner early release options

Introduced by Rep. David LaGrand D-Grand Rapids, to authorize a “productivity time” credit system in state prisons as a form of “time off for good behavior.” A prisoner could get up to 90 days off their sentence for participating in a prison program “if research and evidence indicate the program improves rehabilitation, behavioral, or post-release prisoner outcomes.” This relates to a former "good time" credit system which was eliminated for violent felons by Proposal B of 1978, and for all felons by a 1987 “truth in sentencing” law. Referred to committee, no further action at this time.

House Bill 5437: Expand/revise pretrial prisoner release options that don’t require bail

Introduced by Rep. Tenisha Yancey D-Grosse Pointe, to expand the criteria a court may consider for setting bail to include a defendant’s ability to pay (including various social welfare-type benefits and accommodations), and whether the terms impose a “significant liberty restraint.” This would not apply to very serious crimes, or where the defendant is more likely to abscond, or where the release means other persons are exposed to personal risk. Referred to committee, no further action at this time.

House Bill 5382: Establish system to give prisoners good ID when released

Introduced by Rep. Felicia Brabec D-Ann Arbor, to require the Department of Corrections to take steps in the 60 days before a prisoner is released on parole to assemble documents needed by the Secretary of State to issue a state ID or drivers license to the individual. Referred to committee, no further action at this time.

House Bill 4254: Create prisoner mental health “screening tool”

Introduced by Rep. Sarah Lightner R-Springport, to require the Department of Corrections to develop a “screening tool” that “detects the presence of serious mental illnesses, psychological disturbances, co-occurring substance use disorders, and developmental disabilities” in individuals who are going to jail. Referred to committee, no further action at this time.

House Bill 4045: Revise prisoner mental health release requirements

Introduced by Rep. Mary Whiteford R-South Haven, to require the Department of Corrections to create a “prerelease mental health discharge plan” as specified in the bill for each prisoner who is receiving mental health services or mental health prescription medication before he or she is released on parole. Referred to committee, no further action at this time.

SOURCE: MichiganVotes.org, a free, non-partisan website created by the Mackinac Center for Public Policy, providing concise, non-partisan, plain-English descriptions of every bill and vote in the Michigan House and Senate. Please visit www.MichiganVotes.org.

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