LANSING – State Representative Scott Dianda (D-Calumet) today said that he stood in support of the victims of crime when he voted no on a bill to make it easier for violent and sex offenders to get paroled from prison. House Bill 4138 would create “presumptive parole” to inmates upon completion of their minimum sentences, and allow them to be released on their first parole eligibility date under certain circumstances.
“When I voted no on this parole bill today, I voted in support of crime victims who saw justice done through our judicial system that found a criminal guilty and sentenced that person to prison,” said Dianda. “Now, with HB 4138, we are silencing the voice of the people – the crime victims, the juries and the judges that passed down sentences. We’ve put our communities at risk by passing this bill and that’s just not right.”
Dianda said that arguments that this bill would only affect inmates who are classified at a lower level ignores reality. Inmates serving time for a felony and starting out at the highest classification, Level 4, can eventually work their way to a lower classification.
“This parole bill isn’t going to only apply to shoplifters and those who commit non-violent crimes, it’s also going to apply to felons who are no longer classified at the higher levels,” said Dianda. “Supporters can say that this will help the state save money, but it does so by putting a price on our safety.
“This is too big a risk to take. It’s hard enough for a law-abiding citizen to find a job. If someone with a felony can’t find work, then the temptation to fall back into their criminal ways may be too great. If we need to find savings in the prison system, then we should go back to the drawing board and find a way to do it without putting the residents of our communities at risk.”