Getty Images By Bill Pugliano

Apparently there is something that liberals and conservatives can agree on, and that is a plan to reduce the number of prisoners in Michigan.

Who would've thunk it!

It is a report that attempted to answer the question “Are those policies that increase prisoner length of stay justified by increased public safety or are we wasting resources for the sake of appearing tough?”

The report that both groups agree with was produced by the Citizens Alliance on Prisons and Public Spending, on how to safely reduce the state’s $2 billion annual tab for corrections.

As reported by the Lansing State Journal, the report produced a plan on how to reduce the number of prisoners in Michigan.

The two groups on opposite sides of the ideologue aisle that agree with this report is Progress Michigan, a progressive policy group that is widely viewed as very liberal and on the other side is the Mackinac Center, a free market think tank that is widely viewed as very conservative.

See, there are things that parties on opposite end of the ideological spectrum could agree upon.

The report tracks the huge rise in incarceration and spending in Michigan from 1973 to today and some of their findings are:

  • Michigan’s inmate population grew from 7,900 to more than 43,000.
  • Spending on corrections rose from 1.6 percent of the General Fund to 20 percent.

The report lays out 24 recommendations that could reduce the 43,000 inmate population by 10,000 prisoners over the next five years. If these recommendations would work it could mean seven fewer prisons and $250 million in savings each year.

Some of the recommendations include:

  • medical paroles for frail, elderly inmates
  • raising the age an offender is automatically considered an adult from 17 to 18
  • requiring parole for offenders who have served their minimum sentences unless there’s evidence of danger to the public.
  • require punishing 6,000 offenders locally in state-run community corrections centers for those with a minimum sentence of two years or less. These offenses include third offense for driving under the influence and retail fraud.

According to the article a 2009 study by the Pew Center on the States found Michigan had the longest average prison stay of all 35 states studied.

The report asks and tries to answer the question “Are those policies that increase prisoner length of stay justified by increased public safety or are we wasting resources for the sake of appearing tough?”

Do you believe this is a good goal?

Would these recommendations if implemented still keep our streets safe?

Are you willing to spend the money to keep these people off our streets?

Do we as a society gain anything by keeping these criminals off our street?

I wonder if our society is harming itself by keeping these individuals in prison.

Let’s discuss this tomorrow (Monday) on my show The Live with Renk show, which airs Monday through Friday 9 a.m. to noon, to let me know your thoughts at (269) 441-9595.

Or please feel free to start a discussion and write your thoughts in the comment section.