Michigan’s great communities of faith teach us that all people are of equal value, are redeemable, and that another person’s misfortunes could easily be our own. Unfortunately, Michigan’s criminal justice policies do not always reflect these values.

Research shows that Michigan over-relies on incarceration as a public safety strategy. Overuse of our prisons and jails diverts tax dollars from important health and reentry services, weakens family connections, and reduces employment opportunities – all factors proven to be more effective in preventing crime than long prison terms.

Faith leaders in communities suffering from high crime and violence often struggle to fill the gap in services for underserved crime survivors and their families. Safe & Just Michigan has worked to help faith and other community leaders to help access to resources to better serve their constituents.

In addition, every year approximately 10,000 people return to their local communities from prison and thousands more return from jail. Communities of faith are on the frontlines, struggling to serve these men, women, and their families. That is why faith leaders understand the importance of eliminating the many barriers to success facing people upon their release.

On January 4, 2018, Safe & Just Michigan hosted an information session in Lansing with Michigan Faith in Action.

The faith case for new safety solutions

Our faith communities also understand the inherent value and importance of every individual – including the formerly incarcerated. As the legislature debates community safety solutions, faith leaders remind our legislators that everyone is redeemable and deserves a second chance.

Michigan’s faith leaders are valuable partners as we work to develop evidence-based reforms that promote safety and healing for all.