Sunday, February 7, 2010

Michigan: Record Setting Non-Recidivism?

  The Detroit Free Press reports that Gov. Jennifer Granholm has "freed" 100 prisoners in the last two years and "is on pace to commute more sentences than her three predecessors combined." It is noted that "most" of her early commutations were "for medical reasons" and "none went to killers." But, in the last two years, she has granted commutations of sentence to "dozens" of individuals convicted of "violent crimes" (including 38 for murder).
But Granholm maintains that each commutation followed "intense review" and argues that the freed prisoners "pose no threat to the safety of Michigan citizens." There follows this interesting journalistic observation:
No one disputes that the governor's power of clemency is deadly serious. To date, none of Granholm's commutations have committed violent crimes after their release. But two murderers whose sentences were commuted by former Gov. William Milliken in the 1970s killed again -- one murdering three people and critically injuring two in a Detroit church.
The Free Press adds: "No governor can be sure," but almost grudgingly admits Granholm appears to be batting a thousand to date. A previous governor, according to the article, was almost perfect himself. But the entire piece builds the soft creepy premise that the governor's of Michigan, today, should be paralyzed by the freakish imperfections of decision makers thirty years ago! Nonsense.
If Governor's Granholm and Kaine (VA) have engaged in "record" clemency, a feat worthy of such notice by the media, then at least once a year, if it is appropriate, the two should be congratulated, lauded and admired for record non-recidivism. See complete story here.

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