A year ago, on April 21, 2021, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer of the State of Michigan signed Executive Order No. 2021-5. This order is one of the landmark jail reforms in Michigan that created the Michigan Jail Reform Advisory Council. This Council will continue the critical work started by the Michigan Task Force on Jail and Pretrial Incarceration.
Task force members
The Michigan Joint Task Force on Jail and Pretrial Incarceration Task Force is composed of industry experts who know about the much-needed reforms in the State of Michigan.
The Council is a 19-member advisory body tasked with facilitating, monitoring, and evaluating the successful implementation of jail reform legislation throughout Michigan.
In terms of reporting, the Council must report annually on or before the 15th of January to the Governor, Legislature, and Supreme Court on the implementation of the jail reform legislation and measurable outcomes.
- Lieutenant Governor Garlin Gilchrist II (D) (task force co-chair), Office of the Governor
- Chief Justice Bridget McCormack (task force co-chair), Michigan Supreme Court
- Dr. Amanda Alexander, Detroit Justice Center
- Honorable Thomas Boyd, 55th District Court
- Sheriff Jerry Clayton (D), Washtenaw County Sheriff’s Office
- Craig DeRoche, faith leader, former speaker, Michigan House of Representatives
- Honorable Prentis Edwards, 3rd Circuit Court
- William Gutzwiller, Michigan Association of Chiefs of Police
- Dale (DJ) Hilson (D), prosecutor, Muskegon County
- Monica Jahner, Advocacy, Reentry, Resources, and Outreach
- Dean Sheryl Kubiak, Wayne State University School of Social Work
- Lieutenant Jim Miller, Allegan County Sheriff’s Office
- Representative Mike Mueller (R), Michigan House of Representatives
- Attorney General Dana Nessel (D), Michigan Department of Attorney General
- Takura Nyamfukudza, Chartier & Nyamfukudza, PLC
- Commissioner Bill Peterson (R), Alpena County Commission
- Senator Jim Runestad (R), Michigan Senate
- Senator Sylvia Santana (D), Michigan Senate
- Commissioner Jim Talen (D), Kent County Commission
- Rob VerHeulen, business leader, and former member, of the Michigan House of Representatives
- Representative Tenisha Yancey (D), Michigan House of Representatives
Let us share the Executive Summary provided by the State of Michigan:
The State Court Administrative Office (SCAO) developed several resources and training opportunities in 2021 to help courts prepare to implement the jail reforms. The SCAO also maintains a Jail Reform webpage with information for the public and revised numerous court forms to comply with the new laws. The Michigan Supreme Court published for comment, several court rule amendments, and additions to align court procedures with the new jail reform laws.
Administrative leaders from law enforcement agencies across the state provided regular training opportunities to current and new officers on the new laws and how they impact policing procedures. Law enforcement continues to explore avenues of data collection to determine how the new reforms have affected Michigan jail populations.
Department of State
The Michigan Department of State implemented procedures, consistent with the reforms, resulting in 154,326 Michigan residents becoming eligible to hold a valid driver’s license. Additionally, the Department of State issued various communications to Michigan residents affected by these changes, informing them of their license status.
Attorneys and Public Defenders
Various bar associations, private law firms, and other attorney-affiliated associations throughout Michigan have provided various educational opportunities to assist attorneys with navigating these reforms and understanding how they impact their clients.
The Prosecuting Attorney’s Association of Michigan (PAAM) utilized various methods of statewide outreach to provide training and information to prosecutors regarding the jail reforms.
Department of Corrections
The Michigan Department of Corrections revised statewide operating procedures and implemented new processes, practices, and forms. The Department issued instructional memorandums and question-and-answer documents to their staff throughout the state. They have also taken steps to revise the annual Community Corrections funding application to include pretrial standards that are consistent with national standards.
This article merely begins the discussion on jail reforms in Michigan. A series of articles and discussions will also be posted in the coming weeks.
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