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Bipartisan Criminal Justice Reform Report Delivered

Jan 17, 2020

Following months of work, the Michigan Joint Task Force on Jail and Pretrial Incarceration delivered their report to the state legislature. The final report includes 18 major recommendations, which they hope will make the state a leader in criminal justice reform. Upon officially receiving the report, House Speaker Lee Chatfield (R-Levering) and Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey (R-Clarklake) stated they would give the recommendations a thorough review and serious consideration. The next step would be to turn the recommendations into legislation, if that’s how the leaders wish to proceed.

Reforms in the report include:

    • License suspensions or revocations should be limited to driving violations related to public safety – they should not occur for failure to pay fines and fees.
    • Several traffic offenses like driving with a suspended license should be reclassified as civil infractions rather than misdemeanors.
    • Prohibit arrest warrants for certain first-time failures to appear in court and develop innovative warrant resolution initiatives.
    • Expand officer discretion to issue appearance tickets in lieu of custodial arrests.
    • Deflect and divert certain individuals with behavioral health needs away from the justice system and into treatment.
    • Behavioral health crisis training for law enforcement, dispatch, and jail officers.
    • Creation of a tiered statutory framework for pretrial release that presumes release on personal recognizance unless the court makes an individualized determination that the person poses a significant risk of not appearing, absconding, or causing bodily harm to another person.
    • Significant new investments to expand domestic violence training for law enforcement and increase supportive services for victims, including counseling, shelter, and transitional housing.
    • Ensure the restitution process is transparent, efficient, and easy to navigate and prioritize payment to victims over payment of other fines and fees.

The task force was created by Governor Gretchen Whitmer, through an Executive Order in April 2019 and co-chaired by Lt. Governor Garlin Gilchrist and Michigan Supreme Court Chief Justice Bridget McCormack.

To read the final report, please click here.

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