Watch CBS News

Michigan House committee passes bill that would allow terminally ill inmates out of prison

Bill would allow terminally ill inmates in Michigan out of prison
Bill would allow terminally ill inmates in Michigan out of prison 01:42

(CBS DETROIT) - A bill that would allow medically fragile inmates out of prison in Michigan is in the home stretch before being sent to Gov. Gretchen Whitmer for approval.

The new law would allow medically fragile inmates to live out the final days of their sentence and their lives in hospice care at home. 

"It's about recognizing that prison isn't going to be the right setting for certain people who are at end of life," said Kyle Kaminski, the acting spokesperson for the Michigan Department of Corrections. 

Along with expanding the definition of medically fragile, the new law would also allow an inmate to apply for hospice care with family in a home setting instead of a nursing home. Kaminski says that previous versions of the law have been too narrow.

"In practice, it's been difficult to actually utilize, and only one person has been paroled to date. So the bill contains some much-needed updates and clarifications to that law," Kaminski said. 

Officials in favor of the legislation explained that those eligible for this kind of release would not be a danger to the public because of their health; they could be subject to monitoring and could go back to prison if their health improved. 

"If an inmate is released and then they have a miraculous recovery, is there any provisions to get him returned to prison?" asked state Rep. Bob Bezotte during the committee hearing. 

"If there's a change to their circumstance that no longer makes them eligible, that is up to the parole board to make a decision in the case," Kaminski said. 

The Michigan Sheriff's Association opposed the bill. Matt Saxton, the association's president and CEO, said in a brief phone interview that the organization is concerned about the new definitions. He says they're too broad and could allow people who are not truly terminally ill out.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.