Senate approves bipartisan package of bills to help those on probation or in drug treatment

LANSING—A bipartisan package of bills that would grant the courts more freedom to keep the court proceedings for specific first-time offenders off of the offenders’ public records was approved by the Senate on Wednesday said sponsor Rick Jones, R-Grand Ledge.

Senate Bills 630-633 requires that individuals participating in treatment programs will have their criminal charges listed so that only law enforcement officers or officials can access them.

Making the deferral treatment program information nonpublic may help prevent offenders from losing their job even though they are doing well in treatment.

First-time offenders found guilty of or who have plead guilty to certain crimes can sometimes get a deferral of their sentence if they enter into court supervised probation, such as a drug treatment court. If the individual successfully completes the court-ordered program, he or she may be discharged from the program and their criminal proceedings against them may be dismissed.

“Not everyone who commits a crime needs to spend time behind bars in order to learn their lesson,” Jones said. “ This package of legislation gives judges more freedom to place first time offenders into treatment programs instead of in jail. The goal of rehabilitation and probation is to help the person learn from mistakes and give them tools not make the same mistakes. These bills allow for records to be kept private, which can help people land a job or get into school. In short, it keeps people out of jail and saves the taxpayers money.”