Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer signed into law multiple bills paroling seriously ill and medical frail prisoners in order to receive medical care outside prison facilities. In a press release, Whitmer announced that the bill package will reduce costs to taxpayers and address the elderly prison population more adequately.
The first bill in the package is House Bill 4129. The bill, which describes the main initiative of paroling medically ill prisoners, details those prisoners who can qualify. Parole is not extended to those convicted of any crime punishable by life without parole or first-degree criminal sexual conduct.
House Bill 4130 requires the Michigan Department of Corrections to notify the prosecutor and victim of if an eligible prisoner is considered for the medical parole. The prosecutor or victim is then able to file objections and compel a medical examination of the prisoner before parole is granted.
House Bill 4131 imposes additional criminal restrictions on those who help prisoners break the terms/conditions of the newly established parole system.
Lastly, House Bill 4132 allows those prisoners facing major medical issues an opportunity for parole before having served their minimum sentence.
Since federal law prohibits inmates from receiving treatment under Medicaid or Medicare while in prison, the bill package is expected to alleviate the state’s financial burden. Using medical facilities and nursing homes that accept federal funding in lieu of state prison facilities will reduce state spending. Michigan’s Department of Corrections expects 20 to 30 prisoners are immediately eligible for this parole system and another 450 to 500 could become eligible based on chronic care needs.