Project seeks to improve criminal justice system


LANSING, Mich. (WLNS)– The Ingham County Prosecutor’s Office will partner with a national organization to look at what needs fixing in the criminal justice system.

Researchers from the Vera Institute of Justice will help collect and examine data from Ingham County as part of their “Reshaping Prosecution” program. County Prosecutor Carol Siemon says she hopes it will give some insight about the charges and consequences people face as they go through the court system.

“It’s hard to make policy changes unless you know what is really the underlying issue,” Siemon says. “So they will be doing that, they will help us develop policies and they’ll help us measure the success of the policies.”

Siemon says the program will look at trends related to charges, convictions and sentences. Hakim Crampton works with several organizations and serves on a state judicial commission.
As someone who was once incarcerated, he says the system could use some work.

“We need to have progressive prosecutors willing to take a second look and say “Hey, what’s wrong with our system? What’s working or not working with our system? And if we made mistakes in the past, how do we go about approaching making amends for those mistakes?””

Crampton says the fault doesn’t lie with the courts alone. He believes community policing could play a role in reducing crime and keeping people out of the criminal justice system in general.

“The start needs to be how are we building relationships with our police and our prosecutor’s office,” Crampton says. “Are those relationships really being properly built?”

In time, local leaders hope the project will bring answers and change.

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