Black people charged at higher rates in Ingham County

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LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) – The Ingham county prosecutor says more changes may be coming to the criminal justice system in hopes of making it more equitable.

Prosecutor Carol Siemon is teaming up with the Vera Institute of Justice to analyze data in Ingham County.

Everything from who gets arrested most, for what, and for how long.

The data is not final, but based on what researchers have analyzed so far, they say Black people are more than 5 times more likely to be charged for a crime.

Another takeaway is that Black people are also charged more with felonies and weapons charges.

Siemon says the changes she’s already implemented are helping create a more fair and justice system. This includes reducing how often her office prosecutes felony firearms charges and not issuing charges from some traffic stops.

But she says this is just the beginning.

“We started implementing different policies but as we get increased data we have to look at what the reasoning is for the disparities. And then as we’re making sure if it’s an inappropriate reason and we’re assuming that it is, but we don’t know in all instances how do we craft a policy that addresses that.”

Now it’s no secret that local enforcement isn’t on board with some of Siemon’s actions, saying some of her policies give criminals a free pass.

A final report is expected to be published by the spring of 2022.

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