Data Dump Points Task Force Toward Areas Of Potential Change When It Comes To State’s Jails

Sep 20, 2019

A group of lawmakers, judges, and law enforcement is starting to get a better idea of who is in Michigan’s jails and why.


The Michigan Joint Task Force on Jail and Pretrial Incarceration met Friday and got their first data dump from the PEW Charitable Trusts. PEW is working on collecting jail, court and arrest data from across the state to help the task force come up with recommendations for improvement.

Lieutenant Governor Garlin Gilchrist II is a co-chair on the state task force. He said the state’s criminal justice system has the chance to “reset” its attitude toward non-violent offenders.

“Probably my big takeaway is that there’s been some narrative nationally that a lot of the work on non-violent offenses has been done, and I think there’s still a lot of work to do in Michigan on that,” Gilchrist said.

The information from PEW revealed that 17 percent of people in jail for driving without a license stay in jail for more than a week.

“That was just one…one of many things that stuck out to me,” said co-chair, Chief Justice of the Michigan Supreme Court, Bridget Mary McCormack of the driving without a license data. “I was taken aback by that. I did not know that.”

You can find PEW Charitable Trusts’ entire presentation on the Michigan Courts website.

The Center for Behavioral Health and Justice at Wayne State University also presented the findings to the state task force. They found that almost half of the people released from jail in Michigan, are discharged after business hours. Experts say that creates problems for people who need mental health or substance abuse treatment.

Sheryl Kubiak, Ph.D. worked on the study. She said they studied jails in ten counties, and they found more than 43-percent of people released from jail are released between 5pm and 8am.

“So, if you can imagine somebody who is being discharged at 12:01 or 8pm, trying to connect with services is much more difficult,” she told the task force.

The task force was created earlier this year to study’s Michigan’s jail system. It plans to have recommendations for improvements to the state’s jail system by January 9th.

A group of lawmakers, judges, and law enforcement is starting to get a better idea of who is in Michigan’s jails and why.

The Michigan Joint Task Force on Jail and Pretrial Incarceration met Friday and got their first data dump from the PEW Charitable Trusts. PEW is working on collecting jail, court and arrest data from across the state to help the task force come up with recommendations for improvement.

Lieutenant Governor Garlin Gilchrist II is a co-chair on the state task force. He said the state’s criminal justice system has the chance to “reset” its attitude toward non-violent offenders.

“Probably my big takeaway is that there’s been some narrative nationally that a lot of the work on non-violent offenses has been done, and I think there’s still a lot of work to do in Michigan on that,” Gilchrist said.

The information from PEW revealed that 17 percent of people in jail for driving without a license stay in jail for more than a week.

“That was just one…one of many things that stuck out to me,” said co-chair, Chief Justice of the Michigan Supreme Court, Bridget Mary McCormack of the driving without a license data. “I was taken aback by that. I did not know that.”

You can find PEW Charitable Trusts’ entire presentation on the Michigan Courts website.

The Center for Behavioral Health and Justice at Wayne State University also presented the findings to the state task force. They found that almost half of the people released from jail in Michigan, are discharged after business hours. Experts say that creates problems for people who need mental health or substance abuse treatment.

Sheryl Kubiak, Ph.D. worked on the study. She said they studied jails in ten counties, and they found more than 43-percent of people released from jail are released between 5pm and 8am.

“So, if you can imagine somebody who is being discharged at 12:01 or 8pm, trying to connect with services is much more difficult,” she told the task force.

The task force was created earlier this year to study’s Michigan’s jail system. It plans to have recommendations for improvements to the state’s jail system by January 9th.