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Editorial: Reform MI.'s criminal justice system

Posted: 7:52 PM, May 12, 2016
Updated: 2016-05-12 20:06:40-04

For good reason, a bi-partisan effort to reform Michigan's criminal justice system is gaining momentum in Lansing. There are more than 43-thousand prisoners behind bars.  At a cost of $35-thousand a year, it is the state's biggest growth industry.  Statistics also show that Michigan houses its prisoners longer than the national average.  But lawmakers must tackle three big questions:

-     How do you reform the system?

-     Who gets out first?

-      And how do you make public safety priority #1!

     State Senator John Proos, a Republican from St. Joseph, said it best:  

     "It's time for us to take action with smarter justice reforms." 

Proos is the lead sponsor on a package of 20 bills aimed at reducing repeat offenses and reforming parole guidelines.  He recently noted:

     "Half of our prison population is made up of parole and probation violators." 

      Many in the system have been locked up for non-violent offenses.

     Some of the proposed reforms include:

-     Modify prison time for parolees who have committed technical violations of probation.

-     "Sure & Swift" courts to deal with parole violators.

-     Allow judges to shorten sentences due to good behavior.

-     Revise requirements for expulsion of students. 

-     And, House 17 - 22 year olds in the same facility --- separated from older inmates.

The Michigan House has already passed a package of reform bills.  Now it's the Senate's turn.  We commend the legislative bi-partisan effort in both houses and urge state lawmakers to send a criminal justice reform package to the Governor's desk soon.

Smart justice is good justice!

I'm Mike Murri, Vice President & General Manager

Broadcast: May 12 - 15, 2016