Michigan Absconder Laws

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Parole and probation limit or restrict individuals with criminal convictions who serve their sentence in the community rather than in a facility. Parole is the early release from incarceration with conditional restrictions that the parolee must adhere to. Probation is an alternative to prison time that allows an offender to serve all or part of their sentence in the community.

In the state of Michigan, if an offender on parole for a period of over 60 days or on probation stops reporting to their supervising officer they are considered to be "absconding." Often, an absconder is stopped for another infraction or crime and sent back to court, where the judge is likely to send return them to jail or prison.

What It Means to Abscond in Michigan

People on parole or probation are known as supervised individuals. If they have "absconded," they have intentionally failed to report to their supervising agent – a parole or probation officer – or failed to advise their supervising agent of their whereabouts for no less than 60 days/mileg.aspx?page=GetObject&objectname=mcl-771-4b).

Every quarter, the Michigan Department of Correction (MDOC) provides the Department of Health and Human Services with a list of offenders who have absconded from supervision and those whom the MDOC or law enforcement are actively seeking. This means that either agency intends to arrest the absconder or enforce an outstanding felony warrant within 30 days/mileg.aspx?page=getobject&objectname=mcl-791-284).

Parole in Michigan

When individuals receive a conditional release from prison, they may serve the remainder of their sentence in the community through parole. A parole board makes the decision for release, and per state statute, a person may not be granted parole until the board has reasonable assurances that they will not be a danger to society or a risk to the public's safety.

Once released, parolees must follow all conditions set by their parole board. The board may require that the parolee get a job, submit to drug tests, avoid contact with criminals, and not commit any criminal offenses.

Law enforcement and parole officers have the authority to arrest those who they believe violate parole conditions. After arrest, the parolee will have the right to a court hearing, where they can challenge the evidence against them. If the violation is serious, the parolee may go back to jail. If it is a minor violation, the MDOC can extend their parole or make the conditions they must adhere to even more strict.

Meaning of Probation in Michigan

Probation means serving a set amount of time incarcerated, followed by a term of probation in the community. If a probationer violates the terms of their probation, they will go back to court where the judge may return the probationer to incarceration.

Common conditions an offender must adhere to when on probation include:

  • Community service.
  • Counseling.
  • Fines.
  • Reporting to the probation officer.
  • Restitution.
  • Restrictions on drugs, alcohol and weapons.

Mandatory Probation Conditions

Michigan Compiled Laws 771.3/mileg.aspx?page=getObject&objectName=mcl-771-3) lists the mandatory conditions of probation. A person on probation must:

  • Not violate any criminal law of Michigan, another state, any municipality or the United States.
  • Not leave Michigan without the consent of the court.
  • Report to their probation officer, in writing or in person, each month or as often as the officer requires.
  • Pay supervision and probation oversight fees, restitution and minimum state costs.

Is Absconding a Revocable Offense?

A technical violation violates the terms of probation. Its punishment is 30 days of jail time. A revocable offense allows the judge to activate the paused prison sentence of the offender and send that person to county jail or state prison to serve their full sentence.

There are only two revocable offenses:

  • New criminal convictions: Charges from committing a new crime while on probation are not enough to count as a probation violation, but if convicted, the offender will be sent to jail to complete the original jail sentence.
  • Absconding: An offender who has failed to check in with their probation officer and whose whereabouts are unknown has absconded from probation. Absconding will result in a revocation of probation, and the offender will go back to jail.

What Is a Parole Absconder in Michigan?

The Michigan Department of Corrections seeks parole absconders. It believes that they pose a direct threat to the safety and health of the community. A person on parole must regularly report to their supervising officer or to the court. When they don't report, and their whereabouts are unknown, they are considered to be absconding.

It is common for law enforcement to pick up a parole absconder on another charge, at which point they will be arrested for absconding. The court will likely revoke their parole, and the offender will return to prison.

Rewards for Providing Information on Absconders

The MDOC has a list of absconders on its website and advises anyone who sees an absconder not to attempt to apprehend them themselves, as they may be armed and dangerous.

Individuals who have information on a parole absconder should contact the MDOC on its tips page by contacting the Most Wanted Hotline at 844-362-8477. The department protects the identities of those who provide information.

The MDOC rewards citizens $100 or more for providing information that leads to the capture of absconders. However, MDOC employees and law enforcement employees are not eligible.