Public Defense Update- Citizens Alliance on Prisons and Public Spending (CAPPS) - July, 2014

Citizens Alliance on Prisons and Public Spending (CAPPS)

As we go to press, CAPPS is working with other criminal justice organizations to provide feedback to the Michigan Law Revision Commission on the Council of State Governments proposed reforms. We will be circulating our response via our website and to our members.

Community Meetings

CAPPS is holding a series of community outreach meetings, hosted by local organizations, to build support for sentencing and parole reforms, including:

(1)  House Bill 5078, introduced by Rep. Joe Haveman (R-Holland), which would reinstate a sentencing commission;

(2)  Presumptive parole – which would require the parole board to release prisoners when they first become eligible for parole, unless they pose a current threat to public safety or have a serious history of misconduct (see article inside); and

(3)  The provisions in House Bill 4809 that would reform the parole review process for parolable lifers.

The meetings also include workshops for family and friends of prisoners. The American Friends Service Committee provides an in-depth workshop on preparing prisoners for the parole interview. Marilena David-Martin, SADO Assistant Defender, answered questions about the appeals process and other legal issues at the Detroit workshop on June 28.

The next community outreach meeting will be September 30, 6 PM, at University of Michigan Dearborn, Kochoff Hall. Call (517) 482-7753 or email to register for the UM Dearborn event and check our website frequently at for a meeting near you. Please also call or email if your organization would like to host a community meeting or a presentation.

Our community meetings have been very well attended. We are planning additional meetings in Kalamazoo, Benton Harbor and Detroit this fall.

Join us in Lansing on September 17

Legislators need to know that their constituents support sentencing and parole reform. We hope you will join us for CAPPS’s Legislative Day on September 17, 8:30 – 3:30 PM, Lansing Catholic Diocese, Lansing, for one-on-one meetings with policymakers. Call or email CAPPS (see above) for more information and to register. We will be sending regular email updates this Fall, so please go to and sign up to receive the latest information.

by Laura Sager, Executive Director
Citizens Alliance on Prisons
and Public Spending

The Citizens Alliance on Prisons and Public Spending (CAPPS) is a non-profit public policy organization. We are concerned about Michigan’s excessive use of punitive strategies rather than preventive ones to deal with crime and its impact on our quality of life. CAPPS advocates re-examining those policies and shifting our resources to services that prevent crime, rehabilitate offenders and address the needs of all our citizens in a cost-effective manner. For more information about CAPPS’s research, recommendations, or to get involved, please go to the CAPPS website at or email Laura Sager, executive director, at

If you are interested in helping with CAPPS’s public education and outreach efforts, please email Laura Sager at