There is a buzz in our office. It is the excitement from publicly launching our new name, Safe & Just Michigan. As a Citizens Alliance on Prisons and Public Spending supporter – aka CAPPS, you likely have received our communications, such as our e-newsletter, discussing the reasons for the change.

We would like to provide a bit more detail about how our new name and mission will shape our policy agenda.

Safe & Just Michigan’s mission is to advance policies that end Michigan’s over-use of incarceration and promote community safety and healing. Our previous work as CAPPS is integral to our new mission and remain critically important goals.

We are committed to continuing to work on the issues that have been CAPPS’s traditional focus – including advocating against Michigan’s long length of stay and overuse of incarceration, for more evidence-based parole and supervision policies, and for shifting resources from prisons and corrections to education and other programs that prevent crime and violence.

We have broadened our focus beyond prisons and their cost. We will be working to advance policies that reduce crime and justice-involvement in communities and promote community safety and well-being.

Safe & Just Michigan will be examining drivers of justice-involvement like cash bail, driver’s license suspension rules, mental illness, and sentencing of probation violators. We will also focus on drivers of recidivism such as harsh, punitive parole supervision practices, and barriers to employment and housing from having a criminal record.

These drivers of justice-involvement perpetuate intergenerational cycles of poverty, crime, and incarceration. They also exacerbate racial and ethnic disparities in our justice system.

We invite you to walk with us on this new journey. Together we can build a safer and just Michigan.