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Senate bills propose plan to cut recidivism

Michael Coghlan
Flickr Creative Commons http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

A bi-partisan package of criminal justice reform bills were introduced in the Michigan Senate this week. They are aimed at helping people who come out of  prison stay out.

According to Sen. John Proos, R-St. Joseph, half of the state's prison population is made up of parole and probation violators.

"There are some modernizing changes that need to be made so that rehabilitation for parolees and probationers is the centerpiece of what we do," said Proos. 

Proos said the proposed "smart changes" will save tax dollars on prison costs and reduce crime and its costs for victims and communities.

Proos said it's important to break the cycle of incarceration because 38,000 of the state's 42,400 prisoners will eventually return to their communities.

Components of the package include:

  • A tax credit for employing a probationer or parolee
  • Allowing judges to shorten probation for good behavior
  • Updating the Swift and Sure Sanctions Program and classifying it as a specialty court to provide services along with oversight
  • Limiting the amount of  time served for technical parole and probation violations
  • Separate housing and programming for 18- to 22-year-old inmates
  • Expediting medical commutation hearings

A summaryof the package of bills was prepared by Proos' office.