Chamber Working to Advance Criminal Justice Reform
At the Grand Rapids Chamber, we believe Michigan needs criminal justice reform to reduce unnecessary barriers to employment. Overincarceration costs too much and does not make our communities safer. More than 80% of Michigan inmates will be released into our local communities, we have a moral responsibility to create opportunities for them, and to give them the confidence to find meaningful work to support themselves, their families and contribute to the well-being of our community.
A six-bill expungement package has been introduced in the House of Representatives that would set-aside criminal records under certain conditions with the goal of addressing barriers to employment.
The Grand Rapids Chamber is supportive of the set-aside bill package and thanks each of the bill sponsors, including West Michigan’s own Representatives David LaGrand and Luke Meerman, along with Judiciary Committee Chair Representative Graham Filler for working on this important issue to the business community.
Interested in learning more? Contact Alexa Kramer at firstname.lastname@example.org or 616.771.0311
- House Bill 4980 (Leutheuser)- automatic set-aside for a criminal record if none of the convictions are for an assaultive crime, serious misdemeanor, and if it has been at least 10 years since the end of monitoring by the court system
- House Bill 4981 (Wendzel)- set-aside of certain traffic offenses
- House Bill 4982 (Meerman)- set-aside for certain marijuana offenses
- House Bill 4983 (Rabhi)- shorten the misdemeanor timeline
- House Bill 4984 (LaGrand)- expands the number of felony and misdemeanor offenses that may be set-aside
- House Bill 4985 (Gay-Dagnogo)- set-aside of multiple felonies resulting from the same criminal act
Michigan Task Force on Jail & Pretrial Incarceration
Chamber Director of Government Affairs, Alexa Kramer testified in front of the Michigan Task Force on Jail & Pretrial Incarceration that was formed to re-evaluate Michigan’s current practices to ensure the best outcomes for returning citizens. Reducing barriers to work for this population is a GR Chamber workforce development legislative priority.
We urged the Task Force members to keep these four principles front of mind:
- The fastest route out of crime is a job– A stable career is a proven way to keep recidivism rates down and is the stepping stone to a fulfilled life.
- Jail is not a one-size-fits-all solution– Jail is not a place that cures addiction or can treat mental illness.
- Use data and evidence-based solutions– We must value innovation and rely on expertise to guide the way.
- No one should ever be in jail because they are poor– It’s inequitable, counter-productive for our community’s economy, and hurts families and communities.
A special thanks to the following members for signing our joint letter to the Task Force:
- Wolverine Building Group
- Syscom Business Technologies
- Star Truck Rentals
- Supermercado Mexico
- Valley City Electronic Recycling
- Cascade Engineering
- RoMan Manufacturing
- Irwin Seating Company
- Tolman’s Wholesale Meats
- Mercy Health Saint Mary’s
- Heart of West Michigan United Way