Governor signs correction reform package at Walnut & Park

Joined by a bipartisan group of lawmakers -including Sen. John Proos, Rep. Jon Hoadley, Senate Majority Leader Arlan Meekhof, House Speaker Tom Leonard, Sen. Margaret O’Brien, Sen. Tonya Schuitmaker and Rep. Brant Iden – along with Muskegon County Prosecutor D.J. Hilson, Department of Corrections Director Heidi Washington, and KPEP President/CEO William DeBoer, Gov. Rick Snyder signed an 18-bill corrections reform package at Walnut & Park last month.

On March 30, Governor Rick Snyder signed a package of 18 corrections reform bills at KPEPs Walnut & Park Café. The bill package, spearheaded by Sen. John Proos, chair of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Corrections, is aimed at modernizing Michigan’s criminal justice system by updating parole and probation policies and implementing new tools to reduce recidivism and prevent repeat criminal offenses.

Joined by Sen. Proos and a bipartisan group of lawmakers, Department of Corrections Director Heidi Washington, Muskegon County Prosecutor D.J. Hilson, Sen. Margaret O’Brien,  House Speaker Tom Leonard, KPEP President/CEO Bill DeBoer, and Gov. Snyder spoke about how reforming corrections policies helps prepare offenders to reenter society.

“This legislation is a good step forward to build on the work we’ve already done to improve reentry,” he said. “I hope to see more work done this term on measures that will send fewer people to prison and allocate more resources to address the root causes of criminal behavior.”

The Governor’s office selected Walnut & Park because of the role the café is poised to play in that reentry preparation process.

“As a community corrections provider, our job is to light a path to a new way of life for our residents,” said KPEP President & CEO, Bill DeBoer. “This program equips men and women who have been incarcerated with the job skills they need to help turn their lives around, live independently and contribute to the community.”

KPEP played an integral role in development of one of the bills in the package. SB 16 requires the MDOC to create a Parole Sanction Certainty program in at least five of Michigan’s largest counties targeting high-risk parolees within those counties. KPEP has piloted a successful parole certain sanctions program in four counties for the past 18 months, and is now expanding it to nine counties.