Prisoners seeking faster parole ask judge to intervene

DETROIT (AP) — Lawyers are asking a federal judge to ease the path to parole by giving certain Michigan prisoners credit for good behavior.

Federal Judge Mark Goldsmith heard arguments Thursday on behalf of many prisoners who were sentenced to life without parole as teens. They’ve been getting opportunities for shorter sentences after a U.S. Supreme Court decision. But their lawyers say they could be free even sooner if they got credit for good behavior.

Attorney Deborah LaBelle says it was unconstitutional for Michigan lawmakers to cut off that benefit for prisoners convicted before 1998. LaBelle calls it “vindictive.” She says some inmates would be immediately eligible for parole.

In response, the attorney general’s office says it would be a “deep intrusion” for a federal judge to intervene in state sentencing policy.

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