This week, the Mackinac Center signed onto a letter to the Michigan House of Representatives, encouraging legislators to support a series of bills to implement two key recommendations of the Governor’s Task Force on Jails and Pre-Trial Incarceration. Other signatories included Americans for Prosperity-Michigan and Reps. Steve Johnson, Bronna Kahle, Beau LaFave, and Luke Meerman.
The bills (HB 5844 and 5846-5857) eliminate the practice of suspending driver’s licenses for crimes and misdemeanors unrelated to dangerous driving. They also reclassify many traffic misdemeanors as civil infractions and eliminate mandatory minimum jail sentences for various misdemeanors in several state codes. These bills clearly align with the Mackinac Center’s priority to reduce overcriminalization, and they will reduce the number of potential negative interactions between Michiganders and our law enforcement professionals.
As we wrote in the letter:
The Jails Task Force recommendations provide a framework for right-sizing Michigan’s jails in a safe, efficient, and just manner. They allow resources to be redirected away from minor, nonviolent offenses and free up our law enforcement agencies to focus on issues that have a greater bearing on public safety. In the process, low-risk individuals will be able to pay their debt to society while avoiding undue negative exposure to jail. As a result, Michiganders who make minor mistakes will be able to maintain their family ties and keep their jobs, so that they continue their economic contribution to our state.
We encourage the Michigan House to hear and pass these bills before they leave on their October recess.
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