New laws look to overhaul Michigan’s parole, probation system

Michigan had the sixth highest rate of probation supervision in the country

LANSING, Mich. – Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has signed new legislation into law that will overhaul the state’s parole and probation system.

The new legislation will replace what some have called a “one-size fits all” approach that led to thousands being locked up for minor offenses in the state.

“The entire package was just passed through the Michigan Legislature and signed,” said Erin Haney with Reform Alliance, an organization that deals specifically with probation and parole reform throughout the U.S.


Reform Alliance, with the support of famous rappers Meek Mill and Jay Z, announced that it successfully helped pass Michigan’s new laws -- Senate Bill 1048, Senate Bill 1050 and Senate Bill 1051.

“The package of legislation included three very important reforms to supervision, to probation and to parole,” Haney said.

Those laws aim to reshape the state’s probation and parole system and help thousands of people.

“A lot of people are now aware that there are around 2.3 million people behind bars in the United States. But many people still don’t know that there are actually double that under community supervision. What these reforms do is that they seek to make probation and parole more just and more effective,” Haney said. “It changes the amount of time that people are on probation. It changes the presumption, whether you get jail or probation, for a number of misdemeanor charges. It also changes the conditions that somebody has when their on parole.”

Prior to Whitmer signing the bills, Michigan had the sixth highest rate of probation supervision in the country, with 172,000 on probation and 17,000 people on parole.

The new set of laws will reduce adult felony probation sentences in Michigan from five years to three years and prevent endless extensions on misdemeanor and felony probation terms.

More: Michigan news