Judge rules in favor of supporters of prison initiative

DETROIT (AP) — A group seeking to ask voters to revive good behavior credits for prisoners has won a favorable decision from a judge after saying stay-home orders hurt its effort to gather petition signatures.

U.S. District Judge Matthew Leitman didn’t come up with a specific remedy Thursday. Instead, he told state election officials to come up with a solution for the group, SawariMedia, which wants to get the issue on the November ballot.

The group needed to submit at least 340,047 signatures from registered voters by May 27. It had 215,000 by early March before the coronavirus outbreak in Michigan led to weeks of stay-home restrictions and hurdles.

Under state law, Michigan prisoners can’t reduce their time behind bars with good behavior. They must serve a minimum term before they’re eligible for parole.

The secretary of state office was reviewing Leitman’s decision, spokesman Jake Rollow said.