Criminal justice reform plan heads to Michigan governor's desk

NOW: Criminal justice reform plan heads to Michigan governor’s desk


Michigan lawmakers are close to implementing statewide criminal justice reform.

Wednesday, the state House passed several bills aimed at keeping more than 100,000 criminals from committing new crimes.

“This is neither a Republican or Democrat package, it’s a package of Michigan criminal justice reform, that really will lead the nation in the kind of criminal justice reform that we ought to be considering,” said State Senator John Proos, R-St. Joseph.

A reach across the aisle led to nearly unanimous support from lawmakers.

Now a thick legislative package directed at keeping folks out of prison is much closer to doing just that.

“That means we have fewer victims, we have fewer incarcerated individuals, we ultimately have better outcomes and at the end of the day the taxpayers win because we have less costs to society,” said Sen. Proos.

In Michigan, more than 42,000 people are locked up in state prisons.

More than 64,000 are under parole or probation.

Funding just one inmate costs $34,000 thousand a year.

And ultimately the state spends $2 billion on its annual correction’s budget.

“Let’s find some of the reasons why it is that they’re committing crimes, let’s solve some of those problems for far less money than the 34,000 dollars a year we spend inside the prison walls per person,” said Sen. Proos. “What are we doing to ensure that the programs we wrap around them are cost effective, are best practices, and can ping against that definition for success.”

The recently passed 20-bill plan sponsored by Proos and a few of his colleagues focuses on reforming probation, parole, prisons and reducing recidivism.

Proos says me it’s encompassing but still flexible.

“We hold high accountability for the Department of Corrections for outcomes but we ensure that they have the tools to manage it on their owns and manage the population on their own,” he said.

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