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BlogsPublications | June 6, 2017
2 minute read

MSC: All prisoners are eligible for sentence reduction, not just those already eligible for day parole

The Michigan statute providing for a reduction in jail time for good behavior applies to all prisoners, said the Michigan Supreme Court (MSC). In Michigan v. Wilkins, No. 155688, the MSC vacated an order issued by the Kent Circuit Court interpreting MCL 801.257. The lower court held that the statute, which allows a one-fourth reduction in a prisoner’s sentence, applies only to prisoners who are granted “day parole,” or the ability to leave the jail during the day for work and other permissible purposes. The MSC disagreed, holding that MCL 801.257 applies to all county jail prisoners, even though the statute is part of the larger “Day Parole of Prisoners Act.”

The lower court reasoned that the statute providing for a reduction in jail time must be read in the context of the entire Act. Thus, because the defendant did not have work-release status, he was ineligible to be considered for the twenty-five-percent reduction in his sentence. But the MSC disagreed and remanded the case for reconsideration, finding that “[t]he statute’s application is not limited to prisoners who have requested and been granted work release pursuant to other sections of the day parole act.” The court held that the statute's language applying it to a "county jail prisoner," meant that its scope was not limited by the Act's title. Notably, Chief Justice Markman dissented, arguing instead that MCL 801.257 should, in fact, be read in the greater context of the “Day Parole of Prisoners” Act.