Proos’ Swift and Sure bills signed

LANSING—Legislation sponsored by Sen. John Proos to protect public safety and reduce prison costs by creating a “Swift and Sure” punishment program in Michigan for parolees and probationers was signed into law by Gov. Rick Snyder on Wednesday.

“This innovative Swift and Sure program is an example of improving the efficiency and effectiveness of state government by looking at what is working in other states and bringing proven ideas to Michigan,” said Proos, R-St. Joseph. “This initiative is based on a successful Hawaiian program that helped significantly reduce crime and drug use by probationers and resulted in substantial cost savings. I applaud the governor for enacting this program because it will help lead to better outcomes for offenders and savings for Michigan taxpayers.”

Proos noted that, in one year, probationers in Hawaii’s Honest Opportunity with Probation Enforcement (HOPE) program were 55 percent less likely to be arrested for a new crime, 72 percent less likely to use drugs, 61 percent less likely to skip appointments with their supervisory officer and 53 percent less likely to have their probation revoked than the control group. As a result, they also served or were sentenced to an average of 48 percent fewer days of incarceration.

Michigan’s Fiscal Year 2012 Judiciary and Department of Corrections budgets included the program as a pilot project for counties with combined courts and drug courts, and the current Fiscal Year 2013 budgets, which began Oct. 1, expand the program to allow more counties to apply. 

Berrien County Trial Court Judge Sterling Schrock, who presides over the county’s pilot program, came to Lansing in September to testify in support of Proos’ bills.

“We are excited in Berrien County about the Swift and Sure program,” Schrock said. “We are already seeing positive results due to the program, which is good news for the offenders, our corrections system and our community.”

Public Acts 616 and 617 of 2012 make the pilot Swift and Sure program permanent. The program supervises high-risk probationers and requires them to undergo frequent, random drug and alcohol testing so that treatment decisions are based on the probationer’s behavior.

“The Swift and Sure program is estimated to save Michigan taxpayers $25 million every year once expanded statewide,” Proos said. “As the Senate chair for the Corrections budget, I continue to look for ways to bring our prison costs in line with those of our neighboring states without jeopardizing public safety. The dollars we can save on our prisons are funds we can use for other priorities, like supporting education and creating jobs.”

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Editor’s Note – Audio comments by Sen. Proos are available on the senator’s webpage at www.SenatorJohnProos.com. Click on “Podcasts.”