Whitmer signs bills to curb license suspensions, dozens of criminal justice reforms

By Angie Jackson: For Complete Post, Click Here…

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer on Monday signed into law more than three dozen bills affecting people involved in Michigan’s criminal justice system, with changes aimed at expanding alternatives to jail and removing hurdles to opportunities after incarceration. 

Twenty of the bills arose from recommendations from the Michigan Joint Task Force on Jail and Pretrial Incarceration. The task force, convened by Whitmer in 2019, was charged with proposing ways to reduce Michigan’s jail population. The group made policy suggestions to lawmakers last January after reviewing data and hearing input from community members across the state.

The reform will affect people’s interactions with the justice system from the time of arrest to probation. Policy changes include giving officers more discretion to issue tickets in lieu of arrest, reclassifying many traffic misdemeanors as civil infractions and ending license suspensions for violations that aren’t related to dangerous driving. For most misdemeanors and some felonies, state law will include a presumption that judges hand down a sentence other than jail unless they deem that incarceration is necessary. 

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