[Photo of Kahryn Riley]

Kahryn Riley

Director of Criminal Justice Reform

Kahryn A. Riley manages the Mackinac Center for Public Policy's criminal justice reform initiative. A Michigan native, she studied in the honors programs at Hillsdale College and Regent University School of Law. She holds a BA in politics and a JD, and is admitted to the Michigan State Bar.

Riley launched the Center's criminal justice reform initiative in 2016, and publishes regularly on issues pertaining to the state penal code, law enforcement, the corrections system and other matters of public safety and civil rights. Her work has appeared in publications including the Detroit News, the Lansing State Journal, The Hill and USA Today, and she is a sought-after speaker for criminal justice reform events and legislative briefings hosted by advocacy organizations from across the political spectrum. Her forthcoming primer on the state criminal justice system is a unique resource that provides a comprehensive overview of how Michigan addresses crime and public safety.

Riley is also a Visiting Fellow in criminal justice policy at the Badger Institute in Wisconsin, where she supports the Institute’s corrections reform effort. She has previously worked for the Foundation for Economic Education in Irvington, New York, FreedomWorks in Washington DC and the Office of the Public Defender in Norfolk, VA. She currently resides in the Lansing area with her husband Brent, a firefighter/paramedic.

From Kahryn Riley

Money and Justice in West Michigan

Ottawa County prepares programs to improve both funding and offender success … more

Top Criminal Justice Reform Opportunities

Mackinac Center Applauds Gov. Snyder’s ‘Outside the Box’ Reforms

Reforms expand economic opportunities for Michigan citizens seeking a second chance … more

Coping with the Growing Number of Felons in Michigan

Our courts deliver nearly 50,000 felony convictions per year … more

What's Wrong with Bail Policy in Michigan

Michigan’s Trial Courts Have a Major Funding Problem

The statutory scheme that keeps them running is set to expire in 2020 – and there’s no back up plan in place yet … more

When the Cell Door Closes, a Window of Educational Opportunity Should Open

Three Important Criminal Justice Reform Opportunities for 2018

With fewer than 20 days left in the legislative session, that’s plenty of time to pass good reform … more

Can Technology Help Predict Crime and Flight Risk?

More courts use actuarial tools to assess risks offenders pose to society … more

New Evidence Suggests Harsher Sentences Don’t Always Deter More Crime

MCPP Scholar releases new research supporting “smart on crime” approach … more

Neither Inmates Nor Counties Get Out of Jail Free

Neither Inmates Nor Counties Get Out of Jail Free

Michigan counties try, unsuccessfully, to pass their jail expenditures on to inmates … more

Lunch for Justice

Kayak Tax Proponents Try to Disguise Cash Grab as Safety Measure

Adding onerous education requirements should not make tax more palatable … more

More Guilty Verdicts Mean More Cash for Local Courts

Three Criminal Justice Proposals before the Michigan House this Week

Here are a handful of bills that are being considered in or advanced out of committee … more

Is it Constitutional to Require Criminal Defendants to Fund Their Own Prosecution?

State Supreme Court considers whether to hear a case presenting this question … more

The Laws of Forensic Evidence

Bipartisanship on Criminal Justice Reform Continues to Grow

Common ground needed to overcome current shortcomings of justice system … more

Juvenile Justice Shouldn’t Create Lifelong Obstacles

The (Un)Virtuous Cycle

Criminal Justice Reform = Workforce Development = Job Creation … more

Crime Shouldn’t Pay, but Requiring Reimbursement May Not Pay Off

Harsher penalties are not as effective at deterring crime as increasing the risk of getting caught … more

Michigan House Votes to Protect Electronic Data

Nearly unanimous in support of prohibiting state cooperation with illegal federal searches and seizures … more

Cash Bail Hurts Innocent Poor People

The practice should be reformed to serve its purpose better … more

Gov. Snyder Should Make Link Between Jobs and Criminal Justice Reform

Tonight’s State of the State will certainly focus on jobs — but shouldn’t ignore criminal justice reform … more

You Can Legally Warm Your Car Now

The Legislature should repeal more nonsensical administrative rules in 2018 … more

State Senate Tightens Rules on Driver’s Licenses

The three-ticket rule may inflict collateral damage … more

Five Important Criminal Justice Reforms

Virtual Justice: Using New Technology in the Criminal Justice System

It can work if used judiciously … more

Why There’s a Revolving Prison Door

Why There’s a Revolving Prison Door

New research suggests that strict parole rules contribute to inflated prison populations … more

Why We Might Not Want to Require Rescue

Proposal to reverse no-duty-to-rescue law needs a deeper examination … more

Criminal Justice Policy Commission Examines Raise-the-Age Proposals

Legislature wants to find out what raising the age limit for adult prosecution might cost … more

The InternNet

Giving Some Ex-Cons a Clean Record Makes Sense

Sheriffs Float the Idea of a Kayak Tax

Just another example of the trough truce … more

How Juvenile Justice Works in Michigan

A brief overview of legal proceedings involving youth … more

‘Raise the Age’ Proposals Pending in Lansing

New legislation would stop automatically treating 17-year-olds as adults … more

Proposed Law Would Allow MDOC to Hire Felons

Bill opens another avenue to former offenders seeking employment … more

To Improve Michigan’s Political Culture, Reverse the Trend Toward Overcriminalization

SWAT Teams Need More Transparency

How Many People Should be in Prison?

No easy answer, but here’s how to think about the question … more

Trump’s Crime Policy Comes to Lansing

Rhetoric about US cities’ “serious violent crime problem” is misleading and distracting … more

Not Your Average Campus Tour

Conservatives and Liberals Rally Support for Repealing Mandatory Life Sentences in Michigan

Senate proposals would complete 15-year effort to end mandatory minimum drug sentencing … more

Second Chances Start in Midland

Local organization helps ex-offenders reintegrate safely and successfully … more

Law Would Make Bringing Large Amount of Alcohol into Michigan a Felony

Bills pushed by wholesalers to ‘keep a higher profit for themselves’ … more

Michigan House Considers Constitutional Amendment to Protect Data

Proposed law would provide urgently required protections to individual rights to privacy and property in Michigan … more

Legislature Overhauls Michigan’s Criminal Justice System

Legally Innocent, Yet Behind Bars

Michigan’s cash bail system means pre-trial justice may not be so just … more

Criminal Justice Reforms Signed Into Law, More Left to Do

Enacting some long-overdue reforms should pave the way to pass several others this year … more

Ex-Offenders Are Closing the Gap

No Government? No Problem

Michiganders create innovations, not merely solutions, when problem-solving … more

Closing Crime and Punishment’s Revolving Door

Two Good Reasons to Stop Licensing

Sweeping Criminal Justice Reforms For Michigan

After four long years of debate, change has finally arrived … more

A Glimmer of Hope for Job-Seeking Ex-Offenders

Corrections Department could hire former prisoners under proposed bill … more

How ‘Good Character’ Provisions Create Bad Outcomes

Barriers to employment can prevent some prisoners from reintegrating successfully … more

Wasting No Time on Criminal Justice Reform

Senate introduces some important proposals on day one of 2017 session … more

Roseville Man Becomes Facebook Famous, and Criminally Liable, for Warming His Car

Ignorance of the law is no excuse for leaving running vehicle unattended, police chief says … more

Legislature Reins In Judges’ Power to Deny Parole

A prisoner’s chances at parole can no longer be rejected by a random judge … more

Un-Making a Murderer

Preventing crimes provides huge cost savings … more

Ballot-Selfie Ban Stands In Way of Free Speech

Riley pens op-ed in The Detroit News … more

Some Proposals for Criminal Justice Reform in the Legislature

Making Michigan safer, freer and more prosperous … more

Individualized Solutions for Juvenile Justice Can Help Reduce Mass Incarceration

Senate Proposes Broad Criminal Justice Reforms

Changes could save money and improve outcomes … more

Key Criminal Justice Bills Working Their Way Through the Legislature

Proposed reforms to juvenile sentencing, prisoner parole time and judicial power … more

Let Them Take Selfies: Explaining Michigan’s Law

Ballot selfies are still prohibited in Michigan, for now … more

Introducing the Criminal Justice Initiative

Putting Too Many People in Prison Puts Michigan at Risk

New study indicates prison time increases recidivism … more

Pugsley Correctional Facility to Close

Michigan's prison population on the decline … more

Do Michigan Criminal Penalties Make Sense? No One Knows

Petty Restrictions on Tobacco Endanger Respect for Law

Creating unnecessary crimes weakens force of important laws … more

Key Part of Civil Asset Forfeiture Law Ruled Unconstitutional

Bond requirement challenged at Court of Appeals … more

Addressing the Shortcomings of Probation and Parole

Swift and Sure Sanctions Probation Program a success … more

MSU Car Smoking Ban Increases Potential for Community-Police Tensions

Corporate Giving Boosts Employee Recruitment and Retention

Criminal Justice in a Free Society

Mackinac Center announces criminal justice initiative … more

California Attorney General Puts Donor Privacy in Danger

How to Ease the Coming Physician Shortage

Changing licensing restrictions and expanding services would help … more

It's Time for Scope of Practice Reform

Current laws increase health care costs and limit access … more

CON Law Restricts Patient Access to Critical Health Care Services

State gets no benefit from protectionist rationing scheme … more

Legislature Hoping for Improbable Federal Rescue of Medicaid Expansion

Without waiver, it's back to the drawing board … more

If You Can’t Expect People to Know About a Crime, Don’t Prosecute Them for It

Legislature Examines Overcriminalization

Two bills propose solutions to criminal intent problem … more

Proposed Legislation Could Change 'Strict Liability' Standard

Many laws now work against well-meaning citizens … more

Generations of Inspiration

A millennial reflects on the Legacy Society … more

Economic Protectionism and Consumer Safety

Examining legal challenges to occupational licensure … more

The Fight for Free Speech

Think tanks juggle privacy and advocacy … more

Friedman Sets Phil Donahue Straight

Great economist also a great man. … more