Michigan

In Michigan, one out of every five state dollars is spent on corrections. While policymakers look for ways to contain the high costs of corrections, victims, law enforcement, and prosecutors have urged caution against letting fiscal concerns trump efforts to reduce crime and protect the public. Everyone seems to agree, however, that the state should be getting a much greater return on the significant investments taxpayers currently make in the criminal justice system.

Michigan has analyzed these problems in recent years and implemented various strategies, from statewide reentry programs to reduce recidivism, to law enforcement efforts to deter crime in cities plagued by violence. While arrests for violent crime, parolee rearrest rates, and the prison population have all declined, high costs and crime persist, and the prison population is starting to increase once again.

The CSG Justice Center began working with Michigan state leaders in 2013 to study the state’s felony sentencing system for its impacts on public safety, recidivism trends, and state and local spending. Michigan pursued a data-driven justice reinvestment approach to ensure that the research contemplated not just the courts, but jail, probation, prison, and parole as well, and that the project engaged groups with a stake in the criminal justice system across the state.

After analyzing 7.5 million individual data records and conducting over 100 in-person meetings and 200 conference calls with stakeholders, the CSG Justice Center’s findings indicate that Michigan can improve its sentencing system to achieve more consistency and predictability in sentencing outcomes, stabilize and lower costs for the state and counties, and direct resources to reduce recidivism and improve public safety.

In a report to the Michigan Law Revision Commission (MLRC), a bipartisan group of legislators and public members, the CSG Justice center presented analyses and policy areas for further development. The MLRC will review these findings and work with the CSG Justice Center to recommend needed reforms to the legislature and state leaders.

Publications & Presentations

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Michigan Report Technical Appendix

This technical appendix is a collection of data analysis slides the CSG Justice Center staff have previously presented to the Michigan Law Revision Commission.

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Michigan Law Revision Commission: Sixth Presentation

The presentation includes opportunities for policy development to improve the state’s sentencing system to achieve more consistency and predictability in sentencing outcomes, stabilize and lower costs for the state and counties, and direct resources to reduce recidivism and improve public safety.