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Speaker of the House Lee Chatfield and other state and county leaders today announced the creation of the Michigan Task Force on Jail and Pretrial Incarceration, which will review Michigan’s local court procedures and history to find the most important areas of improvement.
The Michigan House of Representatives has made criminal justice reform a priority in recent years, including innovative solutions like drug and veterans’ treatment courts, smart sentencing updates, and, most recently, civil asset forfeiture reform.
In order to continue those efforts, Pew Charitable Trusts began working with the speaker’s office last fall to look at significant areas of need and build a proposal for a joint task force that will bring new staff and resources into Michigan to collect and analyze data from local communities across the state.
“Strong criminal justice reforms protect people’s constitutional rights, reduce crime in our local communities and lower runaway costs to Michigan taxpayers,” said Chatfield. “Michigan has taken several major steps to improve our outdated criminal justice system, and looking at its real-world impact on the local level is the next step in improving our laws and procedures. The people of this state deserve solutions when the system fails. The information gained through this process will be invaluable in finding those failures and fixing them once and for all.
“I am glad the governor has agreed to join our effort and create this task force by executive order, and I am glad to see strong leaders from so many different areas within our criminal justice system volunteer to take on this issue and make it a priority. By working together at every level of government and across the political spectrum, we can find the best forward-thinking reforms to build a more just and fair jail system.”