Senate approves criminal justice reforms

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Sen. Jim Marleau

Sen. Jim Marleau

LANSING, Mich. — The Michigan Senate on Thursday approved bipartisan legislation aimed at reforming the state’s criminal justice system.

“These comprehensive reforms are based on programs tried and found successful in other states,” said state Sen. Jim Marleau, R-Lake Orion. “The legislation will help address the problem of re-incarceration, reduce prison costs and help rehabilitate prisoners.”

Senate Bills 5-24 and 50 would make reforms throughout the entire criminal justice system. The package addresses issues facing prisoners, individuals who are on probation or parole, and those working on integrating back to society.

Among the reforms included in the package are ways to better track and evaluate recidivism data, expedite medical commutation hearings and encourage volunteer programs that are beneficial to prisoners and could aid in their transition back to society.

The proposals would also reform the probation process by limiting the revocation time that a probation violator would serve for technical violations, allowing judges to shorten a probation term as a result of good behavior and offering an incentive to probation agents and supervisors to keep probationers out of prison.

The bills now head to the House of Representatives for further consideration.