Senator’s bill to extend criminal justice commission deadline sent to governor

Published 9:45 am Monday, December 24, 2018

LANSING — Sen. John Proos’ legislation to allow Michigan’s criminal justice commission to complete its work is on its way to the governor to be signed.

“Last year, the governor signed restorative justice reforms that will result in better outcomes, increased public safety and reduced costs to taxpayers,” said Proos, (R-St. Joseph). “An important part of the reforms was focusing our criminal justice system on using proven, data-driven approaches to efficiently reintegrate offenders back into society.

“The criminal justice commission is doing vital work to help build on those reforms and should be given time to finish the job.”

The Criminal Justice Policy Commission was created in 2014 and tasked with collecting, analyzing and compiling data on prisons, jails, sentencing guidelines, incarcerated population trends, effect of efforts to reduce recidivism, the caseload and workflow of trial and appellate courts, and the effects of offense variable scoring guidelines on victims’ families.

The commission has also investigated bail bond reform plans, mental health issues related to the criminal justice system, and the costs and potential effects of prohibiting 17-year-olds from being housed in adult prisons.

Senate Bill 844 would extend the commission’s deadline from Dec. 31 to Sept. 30, 2019.

“Considering that about 90 percent of Michigan’s prisoners will eventually return to our communities, we must ensure we are doing everything possible to effectively rehabilitate offenders so they can one day become productive citizens,” Proos said. “It is important to give the commission more time to finish their tasks, so that future policymakers will have the necessary information to make evidence-based decisions concerning criminal justice in our state.”

SB 844 was finalized by the Senate on Wednesday and now heads to the governor.