In 2002, Michigan became the first state in the nation to repeal mandatory sentences for most nonviolent drug offenses. Today, Michigan leaders and advocates are rethinking long sentences and advancing reforms to expand opportunities for parole. In 2014, Michigan Governor Rick Snyder (R) signed legislation creating the Criminal Justice Policy Commission, a 12-member body tasked with evaluating the state’s sentencing laws and corrections practices and developing recommendations for improvement. Other recent legislative developments include a host of criminal justice reform bills introduced in the 2015-2016 legislative session that would reform both sentencing and parole laws. HB 4138, which establishes presumptive parole for those who pose minimal risk to public safety, passed out of the Michigan House of Representatives and is currently being considered by the Senate.
Alliance for Safety and Justice is partnering with Citizens Alliance on Prisons and Public Spending (CAPPS) to build support for justice reforms such as parole reform and long sentences, and to elevate the voices of crime survivors in advancing new safety priorities. CAPPS aims to work with business leaders, law enforcement, health professionals, clergy and crime survivors to advance a new way forward for Michigan’s justice system and replace justice system waste with solutions that create safer streets and save public dollars.