‘Good time makes good sense:’ Sen. Irwin proposes system to reverse ‘tough on crime’ policies


ANN ARBOR, Mich. – Senator Jeff Irwin (D-Ann Arbor) is pushing to reinstate “good time” credits for inmates in the Michigan prison system.

Irwin, who represents the 18th District, introduced legislation in late September to amend the Michigan Prison and Corrections codes and help incarcerated individuals earn credit towards early release.

“The push for ‘Tough on Crime’ policies did nothing to reduce crime. It ruined entire communities, packed our jails and created a runaway prison industrial complex,” Sen. Irwin said in a release. “Restoring these policies would go a long way to making prisons safer while reducing state spending, incarceration times, and our prison population.”

Through the “Good Time” system, inmates who demonstrate good behavior can earn credit on a monthly basis. Likewise, the credit can be revoked for misconduct.

Senate Bills 649-652 will create safer environments within prisons and save the state money, according to the release.

Michigan has implemented both a good time credit system and earned credit system previously. Prior to 1978, the state’s system allowed inmates to earn up to 15 days of credit per month for good behavior and for completing specific success-oriented programs. Between 1982 and 1998, state legislature implemented an earned time system, which was then eliminated by the 1998 Truth in Sentencing Act. The Act forces incarcerated persons to serve every day of the minimum sentence, the release said.

“Allowing a person to earn a reduced sentence by bettering themselves so they can re-enter society successfully is good for everyone. It reduces recidivism, reduces crime, and allows people to rebuild their lives,” Sen. Irwin said. “Good time makes good sense.”

The state is one of six within the U.S. to not currently have an earned time policy, as well as the tenth-largest prison population and 22nd highest incarceration rate, according to The Sentencing Project.

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Sarah has worked for WDIV since June 2018. She covers community events, good eats and small businesses in Ann Arbor and has a Master's degree in Applied Linguistics from Grand Valley State University.