At Tuesday Hearing, Crime Survivors Say HB 4450-53 Would Improve Safety and Reduce Recidivism
Productivity Credits would Strengthen Michigan’s Workforce and Save Taxpayer Dollars
LANSING, Mich. – Local crime survivors today announced their support for HB 4450-53 – a series of bills that are part of the Safer Michigan Act – which prioritize rehabilitation programs to improve safety. At today’s hearing, Michigan crime survivors were joined by members of the faith community and conservative leaders urging the legislature to support establishing productivity credits to help ensure that incarcerated people can successfully reenter society and reduce the chances that they will reoffend.
The bills are supported by a bipartisan group of legislators and presented to the committee by Rep. Tyrone Carter and Rep. Bryan Posthumus. HB 4450-53 would establish incentives for eligible incarcerated individuals to participate in job and educational training, which has been proven not only to better prepare people leaving prison for the workforce, but also to reduce recidivism, save taxpayer dollars, and increase public safety.
“Our criminal justice system must include the voices and needs of survivors like me if we want to truly make Michigan safer. HB 4450-53 have been drafted with survivors in mind and our needs considered,” said Priscilla Bordayo, Michigan state manager for Crime Survivors for Safety and Justice and a sexual assault survivor. “From the start, victims will be notified about whether defendants are eligible, and the terms of their sentences, whether they complete rehabilitation programs or not. Those who are eligible will have served their time, be held accountable, and less likely to reoffend. Redemption and rehabilitation are the foundation of safety. Without those, we risk continuing cycles of violence and victimization.”
Productivity credits to incentivize rehabilitation have been supported by crime survivors across the state, as earned credit policy is proven to reduce recidivism, revictimization and improve public safety. Eight in 10 Michigan crime victims support reducing prison sentences, and three out of four believe rehabilitation, and drug and mental health treatment are more effective at preventing future crime. The full report can be viewed here.
“It does not make us any safer to release people into our communities with little job and educational and life skills – unprepared to make ends meet and very likely to go back into a life of crime. Fundamentally, HB 4450-53 establishes a proven anti-crime approach. I need to feel safe in my community. I need to feel safe in my home,” said Qiana Wimbley, Detroit gun violence survivor and member of Crime Survivors for Safety and Justice.
“When someone leaves prison, facing barriers make it much more likely that they will return to a life of crime, victimize more people, and return to prison. HB 4450-53 and productivity credits put that to an end,” said Elle Travis, Detroit rape survivor and member of Crime Survivors for Safety and Justice. “For myself and many survivors like me, I want to know that my neighbors, who may have served time, have been rehabilitated. These incentives work. They turn lives around. This is a common sense way we can combat crime.”
Today, the federal system and over 30 states currently offer incentives for incarcerated individuals, and have seen a reduction in recidivism. A 2021 report found that states like Minnesota and Ohio have seen an up to 20 percent drop in recidivism for people who participated in a college degree program during their sentence. The report was commissioned by Alliance for Safety and Justice and co-authored by former American Correctional Association President, Gary Mohr, and former corrections chief for the state of Iowa, Maryland, and South Carolina, Gary Maynard.
ABOUT THE ALLIANCE FOR SAFETY AND JUSTICE
The Alliance for Safety and Justice is a national organization that aims to win new safety priorities in states across the country. It partners with leaders to advance state reform through networking, coalition building, research, education, and advocacy. It also brings together diverse crime survivors to advance policies that help communities most harmed by crime and violence, as part of Crime Survivors for Safety and Justice – its national network of over 180,000 crime survivors, with 7,000 members in Michigan. For more information, visit https://allianceforsafetyandjustice.org.