Jones’ good behavior bill approved by Senate committee

Sen. Rick Jones

Sen. Rick Jones

LANSING, Mich. — The Michigan Competitiveness Committee on Wednesday approved Sen. Rick Jones’ legislation to the allow judges to shorten an individual’s probation term as a result of good behavior.

“I was proud to be a part of a bipartisan criminal justice reform effort because we need a smarter system that is more cost-effective and achieves better outcomes for everyone,” said Jones, R-Grand Ledge. “Michigan has roughly 42,000 people in our prison system right now, and about 90 percent of them will return to our communities. It is a good illustration of the need to efficiently and effectively rehabilitate prisoners to give them the best shot at a successful and productive life after prison.”

Senate Bill 934 would allow a judge to reduce an individual’s remaining probation term by up to 100 percent if the individual has already served half of his or her probation term, the judge determines that the individual’s conduct while on probation would warrant a reduction and the reduction is recommended by the probation officer.

“My bill would provide a way for probationers who do everything right and are good citizens to have their probation cut by up to half,” Jones said. “Putting an incentive on good behavior is critical to achieving a goal of having a criminal justice system that costs less, keeps Michigan communities safe and breaks the cycle of crime.”

Jones’ legislation was one of five bills dealing with probation to be approved by the committee on Wednesday. They are the first set of the Senate’s recently introduced criminal justice reforms to be reported to the full Senate for consideration.

SB 933 would limit the revocation time that a probation violator would serve for technical violations, and SB 935 would provide an incentive to probation agents and supervisors to keep probationers out of prison.

SBs 948 and 949 would update the state’s swift and sure probation sanctioning program, allowing a circuit court to institute a swift and sure sanctions court and accept eligible participants from other jurisdictions.