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Is a person who is in custody on a parole detainer considered “a prisoner of the department of corrections or serving a sentence in jail” under PRV 6?

Your question raises a novel legal issue that has not been addressed by binding authority. MCL 777.56 (PRV 6) does not define “a prisoner of the department of corrections or serving a sentence in jail,” and it is an open question whether a person in custody on a parole detainer can be considered to be a prisoner of the DOC or serving a sentence in jail. Courts generally interpret undefined terms in a statute on the basis of their ordinary and generally accepted meanings. See, e.g., People v Robar, 321 Mich App 106, 125 (2017). There is an argument that based on the ordinary meanings of “a prisoner of the department of corrections” and “serving a sentence in jail,” a person who is in custody on a parole detainer is not the same as a person who is a prisoner of the department of corrections or a person serving a sentence in jail. However, this is ultimately a question of law for the court to decide.

Tags: PRV 06

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