For Immediate Release: Wednesday, November 9, 2021
Contact on behalf of Alliance for Safety and Justice: [email protected]
MICHIGAN CRIME SURVIVORS APPLAUD HOUSE COMMITTEE PASSAGE OF BILLS TO IMPROVE PUBLIC SAFETY AND EXPAND SUPPORT FOR VICTIMS
The Safer Michigan Act, Which Aims to Reduce Recidivism and Increase Support for Crime Victims, Passed A Critical Vote in the House Rules and Competitiveness Committee
The Bill Package Has Received Bipartisan Support from Business Leaders, Faith Communities, and Crime Victim Advocates
LANSING, Mich. – A sweeping package of public safety bills passed the Michigan House Rules and Competitiveness Committee today with bipartisan support, in a victory for crime survivors and those seeking to end cycles of crime in Michigan. House bills 4670-4675 expand access to victim services to better address trauma, as well as establish incentives to ensure incarcerated individuals participate in rehabilitation programs that prepare them to join the workforce and succeed upon release. These proven approaches to making communities safer are supported by members of the business and faith communities, as well as crime victims throughout Michigan. The legislation now makes its way to the House floor for a vote in the coming weeks.
“Recovering after being the victim of violence can take time, but when we provide more survivors with support, we help promote safety by healing communities most impacted by crime,” said Aswad Thomas, Chief of Organizing at Alliance for Safety and Justice and National Director of Crime Survivors for Safety and Justice. “The Safer Michigan Act will help transform communities throughout the state by giving traumatized crime victims the resources they need to recover, and end cycles of crime.These bills will make Michigan safer and help the state’s economy during this critical time by ensuring people, who are incarcerated and will eventually be released, participate in job training and education programs that reduce recidivism. The Safer Michigan Act’s focus on crime victims and workforce development is key to public safety across the state.”
“What crime victims want most is a public safety system that elevates our voices and considers our needs as survivors. The Safer Michigan Act prioritizes proven approaches to rehabilitation and victim services, ensuring that we address the root causes of crime and strengthen our communities,” said Qiana Wimbley, Co-Coordinator of Crime Survivors for Safety and Justice’s Detroit Chapter. “With this legislation, Michigan crime survivors can rest assured that our elected officials are standing with us for true safety. We are grateful for the leadership of Representatives Bronna Kahle, Tyrone Carter, Brian Posthumus, Julie Calley, Bradley Slagh, Tenisha Yancey, and Abdullah Hammoud who’ve spent months championing the Safer Michigan Act. We urge the full legislature to advocate for safer communities and help us heal by passing the Safer Michigan Act.”
About Michigan’s Productivity Credit Bills (HB 4670-4673)
The productivity credits bills combine accountability and rehabilitation to better prepare incarcerated people, who will return to their communities, to join the workforce and succeed upon their release. Productivity credits towards parole consideration are earned upon the completion of programs, like workforce and job training, education, and re-entry preparation. The state would join the federal justice system and over 30 other states that currently provide program participation-based productivity credits. According to a report co-authored by former American Correctional Association presidents, Gary Mohr (former Director of the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Corrections) and Gary Maynard (former corrections chief for Iowa, Maryland, and South Carolina), these programs have impressive results. States like New York and Ohio reported a 50 percent drop in recidivism for people who participated in a college degree program during their sentence and Pennsylvania reported savings of $414 million a decade after creating its Recidivism Risk Reduction Incentive in 2008.
About Michigan’s Victim Compensation Bills (HB 4674-4675)
The victim compensation bills increase support for crime victims by allowing all crime victims in need to access victim compensation, expanding victim compensation coverage to account for actual costs resulting from crime victimization, and increasing how much time crime victims have to apply for help. Data from ASJ shows that 25% of Michiganders were the victim of a crime in a ten year period, but less than one in five reported receiving information about services and fewer received any services (i.e. medical assistance, mental health support, financial assistance for medical costs or monetary losses, emergency or temporary housing, etc.). Michigan currently has the lowest application rate for victim compensation in the nation. Survivors have just 48 hours to report a crime if they intend to apply for victim compensation—the shortest reporting limit in the country. Michigan statute also requires applicants to file claims in person or by mail, and compensation only covers a maximum of $25,000 for any application—below the national average, and well below actual costs.
ABOUT ALLIANCE FOR SAFETY AND JUSTICE
Alliance for Safety and Justice is a multi-state organization that aims to replace ineffective criminal justice system policies with what works to keep people safe. It brings together diverse local crime survivors to advance policies that help communities most harmed by crime and violence, as part of its Crime Survivors for Safety and Justice network that has thousands of members in Michigan. For more information, visit https://allianceforsafetyandjustice.org.