Counties applaud Jail Task Force, await Jan. 14 presentation

Jim Talen of Kent County (left) and Bill Peterson of Alpena County after the Jan. 9 meeting of the Jail and Pretrial Incarceration Task Force.

Michigan’s county leaders are eager to study the findings and recommendations of a joint state-county Task Force on jail and pre-trial detention policies approved by Task Force members today, said the head of the counties’ statewide association.

 “The work of the Joint Task Force on Jail and Pretrial Incarceration (#MICJReform) is notable for both its outreach to county leaders directly involved in jail operations and for the data it has brought to public attention,” said Stephan Currie, executive director of the Michigan Association of Counties. “Crime rates are dropping, yet jail populations remain high, which puts severe stress on limited county budgets. I know our members are eager to study the Task Force’s ideas for prudent measures to reduce jail stress while also ensuring public safety isn’t compromised.”

The panel was launched last spring via an executive order by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer. It has been reviewing data in order to study alternatives to jail, safely reduce jail admissions and length of stay, support crime victims and better align practices with research and constitutional principles.

Counties are represented on the panel by Alpena County Commissioner Bill Peterson and Kent County Commissioner Jim Talen, who will finish out their appointments in September.

A press conference will be held Jan. 14 at the State Capitol to outline specific recommendations and initial steps by legislative leaders in response to them.

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