DETROIT, Mich. – The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Michigan welcomes today’s announcement by a bi-partisan coalition of state leaders to launch a study to evaluate the state’s criminal legal system in an effort to reduce jail admissions and expand alternatives to locking people up.
“This is welcome news given the ACLU’s long push for criminal justice reform, which includes an overhaul of the unconstitutional cash bail system that locks up far too many people who have not been convicted of a crime and are presumed innocent,” said Dave Noble, ACLU of Michigan Executive Director. “We filed a major federal lawsuit this week against Detroit’s 36th District Court with the understanding that pre-trial detention is not just a Detroit problem, but a statewide crisis that has resulted in the mass incarceration of the poor and the punishment of people based on an accusation not a conviction.”
The study, which is part of the Michigan Task Force on Jail and Pretrial Incarceration, will look at who is being placed in county jails, for how long, and what charges they face, with the aid of Washington, DC-based Pew Charitable Trusts. Based on the findings, the task force will make recommendations in time for the 2020 legislative session.
Governor Gretchen Whitmer, Chief Justice Bridget McCormack, Attorney General Dana Nessel, Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey (R-Clarklake), House Speaker Lee Chatfield (R-Levering), Michigan Association of Counties Executive Director Stephan Currie and Michigan Sheriffs Association Executive Director Blaine Koops announced the launch of the study earlier today at a press conference at the Hall of Justice in Lansing.
“We anticipate the results of this long-overdue study will come to many of the same conclusions and recommendations we believe are critical to overhauling the broken cash-bail system,” said Noble. “We look forward to reviewing those findings.”