Proos says data evaluation critical to next step in criminal justice improvement

Senator John Proos

Senator John Proos

LANSING, Mich. — Sen. John Proos on Wednesday led a joint subcommittee meeting with officials from the Department of Corrections and the State Court Administrative Office to discuss the impact of Michigan’s problem-solving courts on the criminal justice system and the prison population.

“As part of the bipartisan criminal justice reforms signed by the governor this year, we established a uniform definition of recidivism, increased support and use of specialized courts and required the collection of data to help us evaluate the effectiveness of our efforts,” said Proos, R-St. Joseph. “Michigan is now a national leader in collecting this critical data and using it to identify problems within the system, keep offenders out of prison if possible and better ensure success in rehabilitating those in our prisons.”

Proos is the chairman of the Senate Corrections and Judiciary budget subcommittees. He brought officials from the two state entities to the table to begin to better understand the effect that crime has on Michigan families and communities and what is being done to reduce crime and recidivism in the state.

“One major conclusion so far is that a correlation can be drawn between the decrease in prison population directly to the success in corrections programs and our problem-solving courts,” Proos said. “Increased support for these alternative courts has led to more positive outcomes and more diversions from prison, which is positive news for our communities, our prison system and the entire criminal justice sphere.

“It is crucial, however, that we continue to bring together and work with all of the entities that are a part of the criminal justice sphere, as the all-in criminal justice cost to our state and citizens extends well beyond the $2 billion corrections budget.”

Multiple local and state agencies and department, the courts, and public and private service providers all have data on the individuals moving through the criminal justice system.

“Roughly 90 percent of Michigan’s prisoners will return to our communities — illustrating the importance of effectively rehabilitating offenders,” Proos said. “Improved cooperation is needed to help continue the positive trends of lowering crime and prison populations. Compiling more comprehensive data and evaluating that data are critical next steps in providing solutions that lead to the best possible outcomes for prisoners and our communities.”

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Editor’s note: Audio comments by Proos are available at www.SenatorJohnProos.com/Audio.