Sen. John Proos: ‘Swift/Sure’ will protect public while cutting prison costsPublished 11:10pm Wednesday, May 30, 2012
I believe that we must be innovative in how our state operates, look to see what is working in other states and bring those proven ideas to Michigan.
That is why I introduced legislation to create a “Swift and Sure” sanctions program in Michigan that will insure public safety in a more cost-effective manner.
The Swift and Sure program is based on a successful Hawaiian initiative that helped reduce crime and drug use by probationers while saving taxpayers millions of dollars.
In one year, probationers in Hawaii’s Honest Opportunity with Probation Enforcement (HOPE) program were 55 percent less likely to be arrested for a new crime, 72 percent less likely to use drugs, 61 percent less likely to skip appointments with their supervisory officer and 53 percent less likely to have their probation revoked than the control group.
As a result, they also served or were sentenced to an average of 48 percent fewer days of incarceration.
As Senate subcommittee chair for the Judiciary and Department of Corrections budgets, I worked to include the program as a pilot project in the current year budgets for counties with combined courts and drug courts.
The Senate-approved 2013 budgets would expand it to allow more counties to apply.
My legislation would make the current state pilot program permanent.
The program would supervise high-risk probationers and require them to undergo frequent, random drug and alcohol testing that results in guaranteed treatment decisions based on the probationer’s behavior.
It is part of an ongoing effort to bring Michigan’s prison costs in line with our surrounding states.
Once expanded statewide the Swift and Sure program is estimated to save taxpayers $25 million annually. This will enable us to focus more state funding on other priorities, like education and economic development.
Berrien County Trial Court Judge Sterling Schrock, who presides over the county’s Swift and Sure pilot program, said, “We are already seeing positive results due to the program, which is good news for the offenders, our corrections system and our community.”
Our goal is a justice and prison system that keeps our communities safe, helps offenders return to productive lives and costs less money. Swift and Sure can be an important component towards accomplishing that objective.
Sen. John Proos, R-St. Joseph, represents the 21st District, which includes Berrien and Cass counties and most of Van Buren County.
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