LANSING—Van Buren County has accepted a $250,000 grant to set up a Swift and Sure Sanctions Probation Program, making it the third Southwest Michigan county to establish the cost-saving program, said Sen. John Proos.
“I sponsored the Swift and Sure program to help protect public safety and reduce prison costs by bringing proven ideas from other states to Michigan,” said Proos, R-St. Joseph. “The results have been outstanding. Communities are seeing reduced drug use by probationers and reduced costs. In fact, the rate of positive sub¬stance abuse tests in Berrien County has dropped by 70 percent among probationers in Swift and Sure when compared to those not in the program.
“I applaud the leaders in Berrien, Cass and Van Buren counties for setting up programs in their communities to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of the prison system. Their efforts will mean safer neighborhoods and also substantial savings for Michigan taxpayers.”
Van Buren plans to establish a program similar to that in Berrien County, whose pilot program is in its third year. In February, Michigan awarded Cass County $286,569 for a similar program.
“We are excited in Berrien County about the Swift and Sure program,” said Berrien County Trial Court Judge Sterling Schrock. “We are already seeing positive results due to the program, which is good news for the offenders, our corrections system and our community.”
The Swift and Sure sanctions program began as a pilot project in Michigan’s 2012 budget for counties with combined courts and drug courts. In 2012, Public Acts 616 and 617 made it a permanent program, supervising high-risk probationers and requiring them to undergo frequent, random drug and alcohol testing so that treatment decisions are based on the probationer’s behavior.
Editor’s Note – Audio comments by Sen. Proos are available on the senator’s webpage at www.SenatorJohnProos.com. Click on “Podcasts.”