November 2 was a powerful and moving evening!  The 2017 CAPPS Annual Membership Meeting and dinner attracted over 200 people from across the state, including representatives from across the political spectrum, including business and community leaders, formerly incarcerated people and their families, crime survivors, and faith communities.

The event featured author Dr. Heather Ann Thompson and Seema Sadanandan, managing director of campaigns at the Alliance for Safety and Justice (ASJ), a national crime survivor organization.

Dr. Heather Ann Thompson is a Detroit native, University of Michigan historian, and author of the Pulitzer and Bancroft Prize-winning Blood in the Water: The Attica Prison Uprising of 1971 and its Legacy.

Dr. Thompson spent over a decade researching the 1971 prison uprising in New York that left over a hundred prisoners and hostages dead and wounded. The story is one that correctional officials and politicians did not want to be shared with the public. Her powerful account of the political context and events leading up to the “tough on crime area” encourages us to rethink our current criminal justice policies and to invest in strategies that more effectively promote public safety.

Seema Sadanandan spoke about the importance of safety in advancing justice reforms. She shared the ASJ’s critical work across the nation, including a recent victory in our state. ASJ successfully advocated for the first Michigan trauma recovery center designed to serve crime survivors in Flint, in partnership with Hurley Medical Center and the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services.

CAPPS has long supported trauma recovery centers and are excited about the launch of these necessary services that will help crime survivors heal and promote safety in the community.

Representative Klint Kesto (R – District 39) was honored as the recipient of the 2017 CAPPS William G. Milliken award. Rep. Kesto is the chairman of the House Law and Justice Committee and is the co-chair of the House C.A.R.E.S. Task Force. Rep. Kesto’s leadership in these roles has resulted in a criminal justice reform package that has bipartisan support in the House. The package is expected to include removing barriers to employment for formerly incarcerated people, greater access to mental health courts and services to treat mental illness, parole reforms, and crisis intervention training for law enforcement.

We extend our gratitude to the event sponsors, whose commitment to reform in Michigan includes significant support for CAPPS and this event. Thank you Cascade Engineering, Mercy Health, and the Jandernoa Foundation.

We would also like to thank the individuals, businesses, and organizations that supported the event by sponsoring a table for the evening. The table sponsors included: Anna Kohn, Calder Group, Grassroots Midwest, Hope Network, Kathleen Schaefer, Luck, Inc. (Leading Under Correct Knowledge), Michigan Faith in Action, Mike Vizena, Rich and Carol Rienstra, and the Social Justice Committee Unitarian Universalist Church of Greater Lansing.