Once again the REFORMAlliance played a role in improving the justice system in America. The organization worked with ACLU of Michigan, the American Conservative Union, Americans for Prosperity, PEW, the Mackinac Center for Public Policy, and Safe & Just Michigan to pass the SB 1048, SB 1050, and SB 1051 laws which will reshape the state’s probation and parole system.
According to REFORM, the legislation will reduce adult felony probation sentences from 5 years to 3 years, prevent endless extensions on misdemeanor and felony probation terms, limit jail sanctions for technical probation violations, and require parole supervision terms to be tailored to a person’s individualized risks and needs.
“It’s encouraging to watch bipartisan leaders from different states recognize the need for fair and rational legislation focused on creating second chances for those in the criminal justice system,” said REFORM co-chair Michael Rubin. “We’re incredibly thankful for Governor [Gretchen] Whitmer for signing these bills into law and for the coalition of groups that supported us throughout this process. This is a tremendous victory for REFORM and a strong way to start 2021.”
Michigan reportedly had the sixth-highest rate of probation supervision in the United States with over 172,000 adults on probation and 17,000 on parole. The new REFORM Alliance bills are said to decrease overall caseloads in the state by 8.4%. Plus, the MIchigan laws will save taxpayers $29.6 million which can be reinvested into evidence-based anti-recidivism programs.
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“This bipartisan legislation will bring meaningful change and opportunity to thousands of individuals and families across the state of Michigan,” said REFORM CEO Van Jones. “We thank Governor Whitmer for her fearless commitment and leadership to bolstering her state’s criminal justice system in a fair and balanced way. We look forward to continuing to work with her on impactful reform measures in the future.”
Previously, the REFORM Alliance pulled off a win in California by pushing AB 1950 through the state’s legislature. California Governor Gavin Newsom signed the series of bills last September. REFORM Alliance founding partner Shawn “Jay-Z” Carter called the passing of AB 1950 into law “the most transformative probation bill in this country to date.”
“Michigan’s criminal justice reforms are a positive achievement during a difficult and divisive year. The legislation provides a commonsense approach to justice reform by focusing on redemption, families, and safe communities while saving millions of dollars for Michigan taxpayers,” stated Erin Haney, REFORM National Policy Director.
Haney continued, “Michigan’s efforts capstone a national movement that has seen bipartisan reform victories this year in red, purple, and blue states like California and Louisiana, and can be a model for other states seeking to fix broken criminal justice systems. REFORM Alliance is proud to have helped drive these state victories, and we look forward to working with bipartisan coalitions throughout the nation to support and pass more reforms in 2021.”