Advisory council seeks public comments on jail reforms

The Michigan Jail Reform Advisory Council (JRAC) is seeking public comments in advance of its next meeting on Thursday, February 10, which will be held remotely via Zoom. This feedback will assist the JRAC in implementing policy and practice changes, developing educational materials, supporting justice system practitioners, and monitoring performance measures. Commenters may choose to either submit comments in writing or present them during the livestream. (Complete the fillable PDF form  at https://bit.ly/33wkn2P to indicate preference and send it to JRAC@courts.mi.gov.) JRAC’s newly-released 2021 Report is available to read at https://bit.ly/3Afq3Ko.

“Michigan has been a national leader in collecting and analyzing data and building bipartisan grass roots support for landmark, innovative improvements of our criminal justice system,” said Michigan Sureme Court Chief Justice Bridget M. McCormack, who serves as chair of the JRAC and previously co-chaired the Joint Task Force on Jail and Pretrial Incarceration alongside Lt. Gov. Garlin Gilchrist II. “The success of the task force depended on public input. Now, we need broad stakeholder input to help implement their recommendations.”

In 2019, the Jails Task Force—a group of criminal justice experts and key stakeholders—conducted a yearlong study of Michigan’s jails and engaged input from the public in a series of statewide meetings. A package of 20 recommendations from the Task Force was passed and signed into law in 2020, supported by a diverse group of bipartisan state senators and representatives. Among other things, the reforms expand officers’ discretion to issue a citation for low-level offenses, increase the use of alternatives to jail for low-level crimes, and incentivize compliance with probation conditions.

Created by Executive Order 2021-5 in April 2021, the JRAC is an advisory body within the Michigan Department of Technology, Management, and Budget that is comprised of an interdisciplinary group of stakeholders representing state and local governments, law enforcement, community mental health and more. The JRAC facilitates, assists with, monitors, and evaluates the successful implementation of jail reform legislation throughout the state of Michigan.

For additional information about the JRAC and jail reform in Michigan, visit www.courts.michigan.gov/administration/special-initiatives/jail-advisory-council.

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