Criminal justice reform bills headed to the governor

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LANSING, Mich. — The Michigan Senate on Thursday sent a bipartisan criminal justice reform package to the governor. The 20-bill package makes reforms throughout the criminal justice system, from probation to prison time to parole and integration back into society.

“The great majority of the more than 40,000 people currently in Michigan prisons will one day return to society, and we must do all we can to help ensure they are productive, contributing citizens when they come back,” said Shirkey, R-Clarklake. “These bipartisan reforms focus on restorative justice and a smarter, more efficient prison system.”

Senate Bills 5-13, 15-24 and 50 include reforms to better track and evaluate recidivism data, expedite medical commutation hearings, encourage partnerships with outside volunteers beneficial to prisoners, and provide a tax credit for employing a probationer or parolee.

Shirkey sponsored Senate Bill 17, which would create incentives to reward regional Michigan Department of Corrections operations for utilizing practices and procedures that reduce parole and probation violations.

The package of bills now heads to the governor to be signed.