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      Bill could release prisoners early

      Thousands of violent offenders could soon be let out of prison early.

      That's the warning from numerous prosecutors and law enforcement leaders from around mid-Michigan who gathered this week at one of many press conferences statewide to speak out against a bill proposed in Lansing.

      The bill would eliminate what is known as Truth in Sentencing. Right now Michigan law mandates that prisoners serve their minimum sentence. This bill would allow them to be released 15% early for good behavior.

      Michigan Department of Corrections spokesperson Russ Marlan supports the bill. He says it will allow the DOC to cut its budget by 20%, or $380 million a year. He says the parole board would work to make sure only prisoners with a plan that would allow them to be productive citizens would be released.

      Prosecutors at the press conference say it neglects the rights of crime victims who have been promised the criminal who wronged them will serve a minimum amount of time for the crime. They say much of the money saved will be spent prosecuting convicts who return to a life of crime when released.