A year ago to the day, the Michigan Coalition to End Domestic Violence was warning of dire consequences resulting from the early release of violent offenders from jails due to COVID-19 virus concerns. The group was clear that potential crime victims should be placed higher on the list of concerns than those who commit assaults on victims.

Now, the group says we are seeing the results of the state doing what it warned against. The Associated Press reports assault shelters across the state are seeing a huge increase in the number of domestic violence victims looking for a safe place.

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Calls to the coalition’s helpline are skyrocketing. The coalition says in the 12 months leading up to last October, it answered a total of 1,300 calls.  Then in November and December last year, a total of 1,250 calls came in. And in January of this year, 1,000 calls for help. An increase of nearly tenfold The Group’s Executive Director is Sarah Prout Rennie. She tells the AP the real predicted surge hasn’t even hit yet.

As the COVID-19 outbreak began to create concerns about the safety of people held in state prisons and local jails, state leaders worked on ways to get some released early. Or not even jailed to begin with. Between just March and June last year, the State of Michigan reported a drop of about five percent in the number of prisoners held in the state correctional system.  WWMT was reporting early last June how many local law enforcement jurisdictions held off arresting and jailing offenders who before the virus outbreak, probably would have gone to jail.

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