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State’s crime victim services commission speaks out against moving resources


A portion of the state Senate budget is getting pushback from the Michigan Crime Victims Services Commission.

The Senate voted to move crime victim services out of the Department of Health and Human Services – and into the Attorney General’s Office.

The budget still has a few steps to go through before it’s finalized. So the commission drafted and unanimously passed a resolution urging lawmakers to reject an effort to move the state’s crime victim services, funding and programs into the Attorney General’s Office.

Committee member James McCurtis is the director of Crime Victim Services at the Michigan Department of Community Health. He said the department of Health and Human Services gives the programs access to inter-related programs like mental health treatment.

“So we want to make sure that we can provide that comprehensive approach to making victims whole again right here in one department,” he said.

Republican Senator John Proos proposed the amendment to the senate budget.  He said he wants to make sure victims resources are operating at their highest efficiency, and this might be the way to do it.

But Cass County Prosecutor and commission chair Victor Fitz said the current structure is doing a good job.

"At this point we’re saying, if it’s not broke, let’s not try to fix it unless we’ve been shown there’s an improvement that needs to be made,” he said.

Proos argues that lots of other states house their crime victim services in the Attorney General’s office.

“The Attorney General with the role and responsibility of being the top law enforcement official in the state,” Proos said. “It seems the most logical place for that.”

Before becoming the newest Capitol reporter for the Michigan Public Radio Network, Cheyna Roth was an attorney. She spent her days fighting it out in court as an assistant prosecuting attorney for Ionia County. Eventually, Cheyna took her investigative and interview skills and moved on to journalism. She got her masters at Michigan State University and was a documentary filmmaker, podcaster, and freelance writer before finding her home with NPR. Very soon after joining MPRN, Cheyna started covering the 2016 presidential election, chasing after Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, and all their surrogates as they duked it out for Michigan. Cheyna also focuses on the Legislature and criminal justice issues for MPRN. Cheyna is obsessively curious, a passionate storyteller, and an occasional backpacker. Follow her on Twitter at @Cheyna_R