New law will make parole, probation fees more affordable in Michigan

Posted at 2:43 PM, Dec 23, 2019
and last updated 2019-12-23 14:43:53-05

A new law will help former inmates get their lives back on track after being released from prison.

State Rep. Tommy Brann says people on parole or probation in Michigan are currently charged high fees to pay for the cost of their supervision. Those who are issued a tether could be charged as much as $555 a month.

Brann, a restaurant owner, introduced the legislation after hearing concerns from constituents.

“Most offenders are unable to afford the fees, so they simply do not pay them,” he said. “One of the servers at our restaurant made a mistake and got into trouble with the law. She had great intentions and wanted very much to contribute to society – but she simply couldn’t afford to pay the $13-a-day tether bill, no matter how hard she tried.”

Fees were previously set on a sliding scale. Unpaid fees were sent to the Department of Treasury to go through the collections process.

The new law establishes a flat fee structure. Most offenders will pay $30 per month for supervision. Those requiring an electronic monitoring device will pay $60 per month.

“High supervision fees hold people back and prevent them from succeeding outside of the criminal justice system,” Brann said. “Our communities will benefit if we help former offenders get to a place where they are self-sufficient. People who can afford to support themselves and their families are much less likely to break the law again in the future.”

The Michigan Department of Corrections is expected to see little change in revenue collected overall.