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Four Paroled Felons Now Living in Brighton

The Brighton City Council was told Thursday night that there is nothing the city can do to prevent the state from placing prison parolees in the city, as long as local ordinances are being followed.

The city of Brighton was recently informed that four convicted felons who have completed their terms have been placed in a duplex on North Second Ave. 

According to Brighton Police Chief Tom Wightman, the city was informed that housing would be found for four prison parolees in a meeting with the state Department of Corrections and Washtenaw County Catholic Social Services, which administers the Prisoner Re-Entry Program in Livingston and Washtenaw Counties. 

Wightman said that none of the parolees living in the city of Brighton are sex offenders.

Mary King, coordinator of the Washtenaw Prisoner Re-Entry Program, was at the meeting to explain more about the program.  

Council was told that Livingston County receives about 100 parolees who have completed their sentences. Most return to their families, but on average, about 15 require alternate housing and are placed in residences by Catholic Social Services or another designated agency.

City Manager Dana Foster said that single-family housing zoning allows for up to two non-related individuals in a dwelling. As a result, the housing complies with the local zoning ordinance, since two parolees are being housed in each side of the duplex. 

Thaddeus McGaffey, a Brighton business owner, is concerned about the impact to the downtown area.

"I am in support of the ideas and goals behind community reintegration programs and I feel the city is doing its best with the circumstances it has been put into," McGaffey said. "A big concern is the slippery slope. Once a housing project starts, how long until the next project starts and the next and we end up with a disproportionate amount of housing in what is an amazing downtown? That can put a big dent on the image of that area and the success of that area. I know a lot of residents and businesses are very concerned about that happening."

McGaffey said that after the city council meeting, it appeared that the city and Wightman were working hard to prevent that very thing from happening.

Wightman said the police department will work with the state to resolve any issues that arise with residents over the placements.

The parolees have electronic tethers that provide constant location readouts using GPS technology, and are monitored by parole agents. The city will be notified if any more parolees are to be placed in the community, Wightman said.

Editor's Note: This story has been changed to correct the number of parolees in Livingston County each year as well as the number of parolees that require alternate housing.

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