LANSING (WWJ/AP) – The Michigan Senate has overwhelmingly approved wide-ranging legislation that is aimed at keeping criminals from re-offending.

Supporters say the bills — the first approved in the new two-year term — would keep communities safer and save the state money by implementing evidence-based practices.

About half of those entering the prison system each year are parole or probation violators.

Proposals OK’d Thursday include limiting how long offenders can be incarcerated for technical violations of their probation and more clearly establishing sanctions for parole violators.

“Michigan needs a criminal justice system that helps break the cycle of incarceration, reduces costs to taxpayers and increases safety in our communities,” said  Sen. John Proos (R-St. Joseph), who led the effort on the 21-bill package.

“These common sense reforms are grounded in successful programs from other states and sound evidence-based research. They address the way that we keep our young people from engaging in a life of crime, head off those who have started down that road and successfully rehabilitate offenders who have been sentenced to prison.”

Another bill would require the Michigan Corrections Department to house 18- to 22-year-old inmates with other prisoners in the same age range. Legislators also want to define recidivism to better measure if anti-recidivism programs are working.

“Roughly 38,000 of our state’s 42,000 prisoners will eventually return to our communities,” Proos said. “This reform is about focusing our criminal justice efforts on using smarter, data-driven approaches to efficiently and effectively rehabilitate prisoners so they can eventually be successfully reintroduced back into society.”

The legislation will next be considered by the House.

TM and © Copyright 2017 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2017 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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