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Whitmer signs jail alternative bills

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Governor Gretchen Whitmer has signed a sweeping set of laws that are designed to reduce the number of people being sent to jail and to help people convicted of lesser offenses clear their records.

Lieutenant Governor Garlin Gilchrist co-chaired a task force that came up with these recommendations as well as more that could be acted on this year by the new Legislature.

He says that’s very likely since these changes were approved last year with large bipartisan majorities.

Gilchrist says the case was easy to make as overall crime rates in Michigan have been going down.

“But we’ve seen incarceration at the county level go up, and it’s been a scourge on family life.”

Gilchrist says that includes people losing their jobs while they’re in jail awaiting trial because they can’t make bail.

The new laws will also make it easier for people convicted of lesser offenses to clear their records, and to end strict “morals” clauses that block many former offenders from getting professional licenses.