Safe & Just Michigan - September 2020

Join Us for Our Annual Meeting
— From Your Couch

Want to hear the latest about criminal justice reform legislation moving through the Michigan State Capitol? Would you like to see Michigan Lieutenant Governor Garlin Gilchrist II talk about his work on the Michigan Joint Task Force on Jail and Pretrial Incarceration? How about hearing directly from Desmond Meade and Neil Volz of the Florida Rights Restoration Coalition — two men who designed and led the effort to restore voting rights to people with a felony record in Florida and then continued that fight when their state Legislature worked to keep that right out of reach?

You can do all those things in the space of an hour and a half on Thursday, Oct. 8, starting at 6 p.m. by joining us for our 2020 Virtual Annual Meeting. While we will miss seeing everyone in person, we’re keeping everyone safe this year while bringing you the kind of informational and motivational program we hope you’ve come to expect from us. Tickets are just $10 and available at Complimentary tickets are also available to anyone for whom the cost of a ticket is a barrier – contact for more information.
This has been an incredible year for criminal justice reform in Michigan — the Clean Slate legislative package is nearing the end of its journey through the Legislature, while the jails task force bills are just beginning. At the same time, many bills that would open occupational and professional licensing to people with a criminal record are also being considered. We know you’ll want to hear about all that has happened in the past year — and what we foresee in the year to come.

We hope you’ll join us from the comfort of your home on Thursday, Oct. 8!

Legislature Back in Action:
Jails Task Force,
“Good Moral Character” Bills Considered

If you want any confirmation that summer is over, look no further than the schedule of the Michigan Legislature. For the past few weeks, committees in Lansing have been busily meeting to consider legislation related to criminal justice reform, including proposals related to the work of the Michigan Joint Task Force on Jail and Pretrial Incarceration and a package of bills that would make it easier for people with criminal convictions to qualify for good jobs.

The Michigan Judiciary Committee has begun weighing House Bills 5846-52, which seek to end practice of suspending driver’s licenses as punishment for things unrelated to driving, and HB 5853, which reclassifies some misdemeanor traffic offenses as civil infractions. These bills stem from the work of the jails task force. As of this writing, the bills have been introduced to the committee, but no vote has yet been taken. A second set of bills arising from the task force are Senate Bills 1046-1051. They would:

Give police the authority to issue tickets in lieu of arrest in some criminal cases. (SB 1046)
Provide alternatives to arrest for bench warrants in cases that don’t involve assaultive crimes, domestic violence and certain other situations. (SB 1047)
Encourage alternatives to incarceration and probation for certain misdemeanors. (SB 1048)
Extend the age of eligibility to be considered for youthful trainee from 24 to 26 (SB 1049)
Reduce the maximum length of probation from five to three years, extendable by one year and provide an avenue for early release from probation (SB 1050) 
Tailor terms of parole to an individual so that they are the least restrictive possible and the least likely to lead to recidivism. (SB 1051)

Those bills are set to be introduced to the Senate Judiciary and Public Safety Committee on Sept. 23.

A package of legislation that would make it clear that having a criminal conviction is not an automatic basis for denying someone a professional or occupational license has also resumed its progress through the Legislature. HBs 4488-4493 and SB 293 would specify that the presence of a felony conviction can’t be the basis of a licensure denial in most cases, unless the nature of the conviction is in some way related to the license (for instance, someone convicted of child abuse couldn’t become a licensed child care provider). The package also requires an annual report on the denial of licensure based on the “good moral character” clause. These bills will be considered by the Senate Judiciary and Public Safety Committee on Sept. 22.

Finally, we are waiting for the Senate to take up the Clean Slate legislation, which cleared the House late last year. At this point, the Michigan Legislature is hammering out a state budget against a looming government shutdown that takes hold if no agreement is reached by Sept. 30. We’re hopeful that Clean Slate will make its way to the floor sometime soon once the budget deliberations are over.

Check Out the Safe & Just Michigan Blog

We invite you to check out the blog on our website, which you can find at On it, we share our latest research, news about criminal justice reform at the Capitol, information about upcoming events and more. Here are some of the latest topics that we’ve covered:

If you lived in Florida, do you know if you could vote?
A Discussion on Creating Business Beyond Barriers
Need a reason to attend SJM’s 2020 Virtual Annual Meeting? We’ve got several
Juvenile lifers Trauma Summer Camp: healing reimagined

Visit our website at

If you would like to join Safe & Just Michigan’s efforts, please contact us at or sign up for our electronic communications at