When responding to a call, police officers often are faced with individuals who experiencing mentally illness or suffering from trauma. Equipping officers with the best tools and training to keep everyone in the encounter safe is vitally important.

In addition, giving police officers and prosecutors tools they need to rely on public health solutions rather than prison or jail, will reduce the burden on taxpayers while increasing public safety.

For example, an estimated 23 percent of Michigan’s incarcerated population suffers from serious mental illnesses. In many cases, we could better serve people with mental illnesses in our communities, so they never need to enter the criminal justice system. Crisis intervention training for police officers or first responders and expanded access to mental health courts are two examples of smart, safe policies that promote public safety.

Judge Milton L. Mack, Jr., state court administrator, State Court Administrative Office, testifies before the House Law and Justice Committee on May 23, 2017.

New safety solutions

Many police officers, sheriffs and prosecutors strongly support effective public health approaches to community safety – such as trauma recovery centers for crime survivors, crisis intervention training, investments in services for at-risk youth, and prosecutor’s discretion to refer a broader range of individuals to treatment courts.

Safe & Just Michigan is committed to working with law enforcement to increase investments in communities that will strengthen families, reduce crime and violence, and help crime survivors heal.