LANSING, Mich. – The American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan (ACLU) applauds the Michigan Joint Task Force on Jail and Pretrial Incarceration for their reform recommendations intended to reduce county jail admissions and length of stay across the state, as well as improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the criminal legal system. The Task Force, co-chaired by Lt. Gov. Garlin Gilchrist II and Chief Justice Bridget McCormack, formed in April 2019, released recommendations to the public today. These recommendations include ending the practice of suspending or revoking drivers’ licenses that are unrelated to road safety, strengthening the presumption of release, and increasing alternatives to jail.
“Across the state thousands of people are separated from their families and at risk of losing their jobs and housing due to outdated, punitive practices that incarcerate individuals while they are waiting for their day in court,” said ACLU executive director Dave Noble. “The Task Force’s proposal includes much needed reforms that will advance racial justice, while making Michigan a more just state for all. We applaud these bold recommendations and call on the Michigan legislature to adopt these recommendations into law and to continue to prioritize reforming the state’s criminal legal system.”
The recommendations were crafted around both community testimony and data presented by The Pew Charitable Trust which highlighted how Michigan’s jail population has nearly tripled the last 35 years, while crime rates are at a 50-year low.
“We know more people are being locked up in jails and for longer times, despite research that shows that this does not make our communities safer,” said ACLU policy counsel Kimberly Buddin. “These practices disproportionately impact poor communities and communities of color. Michigan is long overdue for these reforms that prioritize community safety, individual health, and advance racial justice. Today’s recommendations will take us one step closer to building a state that is more just and fair and make Michigan a national leader on criminal legal reform.”