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Improving Michigan’s Criminal Justice System? (Pt 1)

A long line of file folders, labelled with dates, that recedes into the distance.
The task force collected and reviewed loads of data, and discovered some very interesting things about Michigan’s criminal justice system.

While in office, former Governor Jennifer Granholm appointed a task force to address Michigan’s criminal justice issues. Specifically, they were set the task of investigating Michigan’s criminal justice processes and determining if there were policy changes that could save the state some money, streamline the process for everyone involved, and make the system more just. 

After a great deal of research, the Mich​igan Joint Task Force on Jail and Pretrial Incarceration has come back with 18 recommendations Michigan’s legislators to consider. There’s a lot of great data here, and some very interesting recommendations. Here are a few highlights from the task force’s findings:

Jail time can increase future chances of incarceration

Although the task force notes that the court’s use of jail can be an important tool in promoting public safety, they also acknowledge that it can make a bad thing worse. Specifically, on the upside, jails can help “prevent immediately dangerous situations from escalating, enables a court to evaluate conditions of release or responses to probation violations, and allow a victimized person to plan for their safety.” But it’s not all sunshine and roses.

The task force notes that “even short periods of jail incarceration can increase future criminal behavior.” This, they suggest, means that while jail may be an appropriate place for people who pose a significant or immediate threat to the public, lawmakers need to consider expanding and possibly incentivizing jail alternatives for those who don’t pose a danger to the rest of us.  

The issue of who exactly is filling up Michigan’s jails

The Detroit Free Press, in their coverage of this subject, points out that while crime in Michigan has dropped to a 50-year low, the number of folks locked up in county jails around Michigan has almost tripled since the 1970s. (Go figure that out! Well, it likely has something to do with the way bureaucrats skew the statistics. For example, crime is way down but Michigan’s population is also way down. There are other ways they mislead us as well.) But who are these people filling up the county jails all over our Great Lakes state? According to the task force, about half of them are traffic offenders!

In fact, driving without a valid license was actually the third most common reason people ended up in jail in Michigan. (Other common reasons included theft, drug crimes, probation violations, domestic violence, and drunk driving.) But the issue of driving without a valid license is something that many people have said is the result of Michigan’s hardline approach to license suspensions. And it’s something that some people believe needs to change. Other people point to driver’s licenses as one tool to help monitor whether drivers have car insurance. It’s a double-edged sword with no easy answers. 

How can you avoid time in jail in Michigan? Hire the right criminal defense attorney! Call 1 866 7NoJail

No defense attorney can guarantee anyone a get-out-of-jail-free card (and if they promise they can, they’re lying!) But the right attorney can make a huge difference to your chances when it comes to jail time. Having a skilled and aggressive criminal defense lawyer with decades of experience defending people against allegations and charges in Michigan means someone fighting for your future freedom, defending your rights, and ensuring the best possible outcome in your case.

If you’ve been accused of a crime in Lansing, Howell, Grand Rapids, Metro Detroit, or Kalamazoo, you’re going to need help from the best. And that’s where we come in. Call 866 766 5245 (866 7NoJail) today and make sure you’re protected from unnecessary jail time, and other life-altering consequences. And don’t forget to join us next time for a look at what the task force recommended to lawmakers for the future of Michigan’s criminal justice system.

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