Proos sponsors ‘Swift and Sure’ legislation

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LANSING – Sen. John Proos introduced legislation on Tuesday to protect public safety and reduce prison costs by creating a “Swift and Sure” punishment program in Michigan for parolees and probationers. 

“This is about being innovative in how the state operates, looking to see what is working in other states, and bringing those proven ideas to Michigan,” said Proos, R-St. Joseph. “The Swift and Sure program is based on a significantly successful Hawaiian program that helped reduce crime and drug use by probationers while saving taxpayers millions of dollars.”

Proos noted that, in one year, probationers in Hawaii’s Honest Opportunity with Probation Enforcement (HOPE) program were 55 percent less likely to be arrested for a new crime, 72 percent less likely to use drugs, 61 percent less likely to skip appointments with their supervisory officer and 53 percent less likely to have their probation revoked than the control group. As a result, they also served or were sentenced to an average of 48 percent fewer days of incarceration.

Michigan’s Fiscal Year 2012 Judiciary and Department of Corrections budgets included the program as a pilot project for counties with combined courts and drug courts, and the Senate-approved 2013 budgets would expand it to allow more counties to apply. 

Proos’ bills would make the current pilot Swift and Sure program permanent. The program would supervise high-risk probationers and require them to undergo frequent, random drug and alcohol testing that results in guaranteed treatment decisions based on the probationer’s behavior.

“Swift and Sure is a program of penalties resulting in jail time for certain probation violations, to ensure public safety in a more cost-effective manner than returning offenders to state prisons,” Proos said. “As subcommittee chair for the Corrections budget, I continue to work to bring Michigan’s prison costs in line with our surrounding states. Once expanded statewide the program is estimated to save taxpayers $25 million each year – enabling us to focus more state funding on other priorities, like education and economic development.”

Berrien County has adopted a Swift and Sure Sanctions program. Berrien County Trial Court Judge Sterling Schrock, who presides over the pilot program, said, “We are excited in Berrien County about the Swift and Sure program. We are already seeing positive results due to the program, which is good news for the offenders, our corrections system and our community.”

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Editor’s Note – Audio comments by Sen. Proos are available on the senator’s website at www.SenatorJohnProos.com. Click on “Podcasts.”

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