Safe & Just Michigan - June, 2018

On Monday, June 11, we announced that CAPPS will be known as Safe & Just Michigan. Please visit our new website at If you would like to join Safe & Just Michigan’s efforts, please contact Laura Sager, executive director, at or sign up for our electronic communications at
Objective Parole Bill Moves on to Senate Committee

On May 30, 2018, HB 5377 passed the Michigan House by an overwhelming 97-10 vote. HB 5377 will establish an objective, evidence-based parole process for low-risk incarcerated people.

Currently, incarcerated people who are eligible for parole undergo a rigorous risk assessment by the parole board. By law, parole board members can only deny parole for “substantial and compelling” reasons when a person’s scores indicate they are a low-risk to public safety. Unfortunately, the law did not define “substantial and compelling” reasons.

HB 5377, sponsored by Representative Klint Kesto (R – District 39), defines “substantial and compelling” reasons for parole denials. The bill creates an objective parole process while preserving the parole board’s ability to deny parole to any individual for objective safety concerns.

In support of the bill in the House Law and Justice Committee, John Cooper, our associate director of policy & research, wrote:

HB 5377 reduces the risk of inconsistent parole decisions for similarly-situated prisoners. It puts the focus of the parole release on whether the prisoner presents a credible risk to public safety if released, and it creates objective standards for making this determination.

By increasing the transparency and predictability of the parole process, it increases prisoners’ incentives to invest in their own rehabilitation.
You can read Cooper’s testimony at

The bill was amended in Committee in response to concerns raised by law enforcement. The bill easily passed the full House without further amendments.

On June 5, HB 5377 was referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee, which is chaired by Senator Rick Jones (R – District 24).

Safe & Just Michigan (SJM) was launched in 2018 after the growth and hard work of the Citizens Alliance on Prisons and Public Spending (CAPPS).  Safe & Just Michigan works to advance policies that end Michigan’s over-use of incarceration and promote community safety and healing. We envision a Michigan in which all are safe in their communities and everyone is responsible for creating accountability, safety and justice. For more information about Safe & Just Michigan, please go to