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Parole Board Information

To contact the parole board, call 517-373-0270 or send them an email at Parole-Board-Staff@michigan.gov.

The office is staffed Monday - Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. 
  • Created by statute, the Michigan Parole Board is the sole paroling authority for felony offenders committed to the jurisdiction of the Michigan Department of Corrections. The Board also acts in an advisory capacity to the Governor for all executive clemency matters.

    On April 15, 2011, Executive Order 2011-3, established the Board membership to ten full-time, non-Civil Service employees who are to be appointed by the Director of the Michigan Department of Corrections. Their diverse backgrounds include law enforcement, law, corrections, ministry, social work and public service.    
  • The current members are:

    Brian Shipman, Chairperson

    Aaron Dungy 

    Melissa Jennings

    Anthony E. King

    Tim Flanagan

    Paula Johnson

    Adrianne Van Langevelde

    Crissa Blankenburg

    Caitlin McGinn

     
    Updated: 04/14/24
  • For indeterminate sentences the minimum sentence is set by the judge and the maximum sentence is set by statute. The Parole Board gains jurisdiction of a case when a prisoner has served the minimum sentence, less any good time or disciplinary credits the prisoner may have earned. Truth-In-Sentencing (TIS) legislation, which went into full effect in December of 2000, does not affect prisoners sentenced for crimes which took place before the TIS laws went into effect. Therefore, a substantial percentage of current prisoners are still entitled to either good time or disciplinary credits, depending on the date of the offense.

    Prisoners serving life sentences ("lifers") are interviewed by the Board after they have served 10 years on their Life sentence.  After that initial interview, the Board is required to review each lifer case at five-year intervals. Prisoners serving for first-degree murder may be released from prison only if they receive a pardon or a commutation from the Governor. The Parole Board has the discretionary authority to parole other lifers once they have served 10 or 15 years on their Life sentence (depending on the date of the offense) if the sentencing judge does not object.  

  • 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.

    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.

  • EXECUTIVE CLEMENCY PROCESS

    Summary

    The Governor's executive clemency authority is derived from Section 14 of Article V of the Michigan Constitution of 1963, which states that the Governor shall have power to grant reprieves, commutations, and pardons after convictions for all offenses, except cases of impeachment, upon such conditions and limitations as the Governor may direct, subject to procedures and regulations prescribed by law. The Governor shall inform the legislature annually of each reprieve, commutation and pardon granted, stating reasons therefore.

    A commutation is defined as the reduction of an individual's sentence to a specified term such that the Michigan Parole  Board is given the jurisdiction and authority to determine an individual's parole eligibility. A commutation does not nullify the underlying conviction(s). In contrast, a pardon erases a conviction from an individual's record. The Michigan Supreme Court has held that the effect of a pardon by the Governor is such that it "releases the punishment and blots out of existence the guilt, so that in the eye of the law the offender is as innocent as if he had never committed the offense." People v. Van Heck, 252 Mich.App. 207, 216; 651 N.W.2d 174, 179 (2002). A pardon is an extraordinary form of relief for someone convicted of a crime and is extremely rare.

    As noted in the Constitution, the Governor's clemency authority is "subject to procedures and regulations prescribed by law." These procedures and regulations are contained in Sections 43 and 44 of the Corrections Code of 1953, 1953 PA 232, MCL 791.243 and 791.244.  All applications for pardons and commutations must be filed with the Michigan Parole Board ("Board") using forms provided by the Board and must include the information, records, and documents required by the Board. Application forms may be obtained online from the Michigan Department of Corrections website.

    Section 44 of the Corrections Code sets forth a detailed framework that must be followed by the Board in considering all applications for pardons and commutations, including those initiated by the Board itself. For example, within 60 days of initiating or receiving such an application, the Board must conduct an initial review to determine whether the application for a pardon or commutation has merit.

    The Board has the exclusive statutory duty to transmit its formal recommendation to the Governor as to the merit of an application.

    A clemency review may be initiated by an Application for Pardon or Commutation of Sentence submitted by a prisoner or by someone on his or her behalf, or by an Application for Pardon after Parole or Discharge submitted by an individual who has completed his or her sentence.  Any clemency reviews other than by application must be initiated by the Board.  If denied, an application may be resubmitted two years after the date on which the Board received the previously denied application.  Unless there has been a substantial change in circumstances, an application resubmitted before that time will be returned without action.  The Board's decision to initiate a commutation review is within the Board's discretion and may include, but not be limited to, circumstances in which a prisoner has a deteriorating and/or terminal medical condition from which he or she is not likely to recover.

    Parole Board Process

    All clemency applications are forwarded to the Parole Board for review. The Board will conduct an initial review to determine if it has interest in proceeding to a public hearing. If there is not majority interest in doing so, the application and any supporting documentation is simply forwarded to the Governor with the Board's recommendation that the application should be denied. If there is an initial majority interest in considering a public hearing, it triggers a detailed statutory process.

    Following the Board's referral of a case to a public hearing, the Board must, by statute, follow certain notification and scheduling requirements. First, the Board must send out notices of the potential public hearing to the sentencing or successor judge and prosecutor, allowing 30 days for their comments and/or objections. At the expiration of that 30-day period, the Board will review any information received and decide whether to remove the case from the public hearing process or proceed to a public hearing. If there is still interest in proceeding to a public hearing, the Board must then provide a 30 day notice of the public hearing to the same judge and prosecutor, the Governor, the Attorney General, all registered victims, and the prisoner/petitioner. The Board will also publish notice of the public hearing on the MDOC website. The Board may receive and review information and comments submitted by crime victims. During that 30 day period, the Board will also commence a parole placement investigation on commutation cases, as well as provide the Attorney General with file materials for review in preparation for the public hearing.  

    At the public hearing, an Assistant Attorney General, the Board's Chairperson, and any other members of the Board in attendance may question the prisoner or petitioner applicant on all relevant issues. Members of the public, as well as any victim(s) or victim(s)' representative may testify in support of or opposition to the applicant's clemency. The public hearing is recorded and a transcript of the proceeding is completed after the hearing, with a copy submitted to the Attorney General. The case is then referred back to the Board for a final executive meeting where the Board will vote on a recommendation to the Governor, taking into account all information received during the process and the public hearing. After reaching a majority vote, the Board's recommendation and all relevant materials, including the public hearing transcript and other pertinent documents, are delivered to the Office of the Governor.

    Final Disposition Process

    The Governor and his or her legal staff will review the application materials and the recommendations of the Board to determine whether executive clemency is warranted. The Board will notify the applicant when a final determination is made.

    Should the Governor grant a pardon request, the Governor's Office will issue the appropriate pardon documents, file the pardon with the Secretary of State, and notify the Michigan State Police and the applicant. Should the Governor grant a commutation request, thus commuting the prisoner's sentence to a term of years already served, the Board will assume jurisdiction over the case and vote on a parole. All action by the Board in a commutation case must be by majority vote of the 10-member Board. Should the Board by majority vote grant a parole on a commutation case, the parole term would be for a period of four years. Moreover, such a parole release will occur only after a required 28-day notice period, during which the Board will notify the sentencing or successor sentencing judge, prosecutor, and any registered victim(s). However, in the case of a terminally ill prisoner, the Board may seek the consent of the prosecutor, judge, and registered victim(s) to a waiver of both the 30-day notices (for comments/objections and notice of the public hearing) and this 28-day notice of parole release.  

Pardon After Probation, Parole or Discharge Application

If you choose to apply for a pardon after probation, parole, or discharge, you should complete this application and submit one copy of it and all supporting documentation to the Parole Board.

INSTRUCTIONS FOR COMPLETING AN APPLICATION FOR PARDON AFTER PROBATION, PAROLE OR DISCHARGE

APPLICATION FOR PARDON AFTER PROBATION, PAROLE OR DISCHARGE 

Commutation and Pardon Applications and Instructions (CURRENT MICHIGAN PRISONERS ONLY)

If you wish to apply for a pardon or commutation of a sentence while a Michigan prisoner you should complete this application and submit one copy of it and all supporting documentation to the Parole and Commutation Board.

INSTRUCTIONS AND APPLICATION FOR PARDON OR COMMUTATION OF SENTENCE

Updated: 06/17/24