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The Parole Consideration Process
The Michigan Parole Board is the sole paroling authority for prisoners sentenced to the jurisdiction of the Michigan Department of Corrections. Prisoners serving an indeterminate sentence are subject to the jurisdiction of the Parole Board after serving the minimum sentence imposed by the court less good time and disciplinary credits, if applicable. Prisoners whose crimes were committed since enactment of truth-in-sentencing legislation are not eligible for good time or disciplinary credits. This applies to specified assaultive crimes committed on or after December 15, 1998, and all other crimes committed on or after December 15, 2000.
By statute (MCL 791.233), even after serving the minimum sentence, a prisoner may not be granted parole until the Parole Board has reasonable assurance, after consideration of all of the facts and circumstances, that the prisoner will not become a menace to society or a risk to the public safety. The factors considered by the Parole Board in making parole decisions include the nature of the current offense, the prisoner's criminal history, prison behavior, program performance, age, parole guidelines score, risk as determined by various validated assessment instruments and information obtained during the prisoner's interview, if one is conducted. The Parole Board also considers information from crime victims and other relevant sources.
Most parole decisions are made by three-member panels of the Parole Board. Decisions for prisoners serving a life sentence are made by majority vote of all ten members of the Parole Board.
The Parole Board uses a numerical scoring system called the parole guidelines to apply objective criteria to the decision-making process. This tool is designed to reduce disparity in parole decisions and increase parole decision-making efficiency. The factors used in the parole guidelines are set forth in Administrative Rule 791.7716.
Parole may be ordered without an interview if the prisoner's parole guideline score places him/her in the high probability of parole range (+3 and above) unless the prisoner is serving for an offense involving a sexual assault or one which resulted in a death. A prisoner may be denied parole without an interview if his/her parole guideline score places him/her in the low probability of parole range (-13 or lower). The Parole Board's decision may depart from the parole guidelines range but the Parole Board must provide, in writing, substantial and compelling reasons in support of the decision.
During the period between the Parole Board's decision and the prisoner's release, the prisoner's behavior continues to be monitored. If the prisoner becomes involved in misconduct in the prison or the Parole Board becomes aware of other adverse information, the parole may be suspended. Misconduct which occurs after release to parole may result in revocation of parole at the discretion of the Parole Board.