Granholm establishes advisory council to review clemency requests
LANSING: Governor Jennifer M. Granholm last week took steps to continue reforms in the state’s prison system that are a pivotal part of her overall plan to make government more efficient and cost effective.
Granholm’s reform calls for the release of nonviolent offenders from the state’s prisons, starting with medically frail prisoners, non-violent elderly inmates, and foreign nationals, who will be deported upon their release.
In a press release issued by her office, Granholm stated: “As we work to invest in Michigan and our citizens we are redoubling our efforts to save money within state government, including finding lower-cost ways to deal with non-violent offenders in our prison system. The security of Michigan citizens remains our top priority and this council will work to help us safely reduce the state’s prisoner population.”
Granholm has signed Executive Order 2007-2, establishing the Executive Clemency Advisory Council to assist the state Parole Board in reviewing clemency applications before they are submitted to the governor for final determination.
Under Executive Order 2007-2, the Executive Clemency Advisory Council will assist the Parole Board with the initial review of applications for reprieve, commutation, or pardon for the limited purpose of recommending to the board whether an individual application has merit.
The Parole Board is required by law to make a merit determination for every clemency request. Only applications with merit receive comprehensive investigations by the Parole Board. The initial merit review process requires the Parole Board to dedicate significant resources to each case within a limited time period. The council alleviates some of the Parole Board’s resource constraints, and ensures that all clemency requests continue to receive a fair, thorough, and efficient examination.
After the Parole Board reviews each clemency request, it is legally required to recommend that the governor grant or reject the application. As in the majority of states, Michigan’s constitution gives the governor exclusive authority to decide all clemency requests.
The Executive Clemency Advisory Council consists of seven members appointed by the governor, and includes representatives from law enforcement, crime victims or their families, and the general public.
The following individuals have been appointed as members of the Executive Clemency Advisory Council: Dr. Charles G. Adams of Detroit, pastor of Hartford Memorial Baptist Church, appointed to represent the general public; Gloria L. Baker of Roseville, accountant with Urban Science Options, appointed to represent crime victims or their families; Joyce M. Braithwaite-Brickley of Traverse City, retired, appointed to represent the general public; Mary Beth Kur of Petoskey, former Charlevoix County prosecutor now in private practice, appointed to represent law enforcement; Janette L. Price of Eaton Rapids, former warden for the Michigan Department of Corrections, now retired, appointed to represent the general public; Rudolph A. Serra of Detroit, retired judge of the 36th District Court, now in private practice, appointed to represent law enforcement and designated chair of the council for a term expiring at the pleasure of the governor; and Rabbi David A. Nelson of Southfield, rabbi of Congregation Beth Shalom, appointed to represent the general public.