City leaders believe the state of Michigan is dumping released felons in the Upper Peninsula town of Escanaba and they want it stopped.
City Manager Jim O’Toole says they started noticing the trend after Escanaba Public Safety asked a person arrested for shoplifting why he was there.
And O’Toole feels like it is changing the fabric of the community including the quality of life and public safety on the local level.
The Michigan Prisoner ReEntry Initiative is meant to reintroduce inmates into their own communities. Instead, O’Toole says they are being sent to Escanaba with no ties to the community.
O’Toole and other local leaders are also concerned the presumptive parole legislation being discussed in Lansing will further adversely affect local communities.
The bill, headed back to the state Senate, allows non-violent inmates to be released from prison after they serve their minimum sentence.
The Michigan Department of Corrections says a controversy brewing in Escanaba over the housing of recently-released prison inmates is only a temporary situation and should be resolved by the end of this month.
Escanaba city leaders are expressing concerns over the housing of recently-released parolees, under The Michigan Prisoner ReEntry Initiative, as a threat to their quality of life and public safety.
Michigan Department of Corrections spokesman Chris Gautz says Escanaba was only being used as transitional housing for 90-days since there was not enough room in Marquette County.
He says the last parolee from Marquette County living now in Escanaba will be moved by November 1st.
Gautz says all of the parolees involved in the initiative have served their minimum sentences and are entitled to release, under certain restrictions.
He says MDOC closely monitors them and some even wear electronic tethers to make sure they obey requirements, which include having a GED or equivalent before release, and be actively search for work once they are released.