A new task force will explore who is in Michigan’s jails and why they’re there. Governor Gretchen Whitmer signed an executive order Wednesday.
The order creates a bipartisan team to review the jail and court data collected from Michigan counties. Then the task force will use the information to look for improvements to the system and make recommendations to the Legislature.
“We know this, the status quo isn’t working,” said Whitmer. “It’s not working for victims, it’s not working for the accused, and it’s certainly not working for those who are convicted of crimes.”
Steve Currie of the Michigan Association of Counties said the counties need this data to help figure out the best way to reduce their jail populations.
“There are less people being arrested in the state, why are our populations increasing?” he said. “So that’s what we’d like to see is who’s in jail, what are they in jail for and are there better ways to handle that population?”
The task force will be made up of appointees by every branch of government, plus picks from the Sheriffs Association, the Attorney General’s Office and the Michigan Association of Counties.
Michigan Supreme Court Chief Justice Bridget McCormack will also be on the task force.
“Our legal system should feel more like justice for victims and for people accused of crimes,” McCormack said. “When people are found guilty and sentenced, they should feel that the process was fair.”