Safe and Just Michigan - May, 2022

Catch Up On Our Latest Events On Clean Slate and the Business Case for Reform

Safe & Just Michigan recently held a pair of events to mark the first anniversary of Clean Slate’s effective date and to make the business case for criminal justice reform. We hope you were able to join us for these events, but in case you weren’t, you can still catch the replays: 

Clean Slate: A Year in Review – Looking Forward to Automatic Expungement

This webinar, held on Monday, April 11, featured Michigan State Court Administrator The Hon. Thomas Boyd, Clean Slate Utah Founder and Rasa Public Benefit Corp. CEO Noella Sudbury joined moderator Clean Slate Initiative Executive Director Sheena Meade and Safe & Just Michigan’s Executive Director John S. Cooper and Clean Slate Program Manager Kamau Sandiford to celebrate the milestone and look forward to the next steps. In particular, Judge Thomas covered the progress courts have made preparing for the advent of automated record clearance, which is scheduled to become effective on April 11, 2023. If you missed this presentation, you can catch it on your YouTube page anytime at

The Business Case for Criminal Justice Reform with Jeffrey Korzenik

Author and economist Jeffrey Korzenik, who joined us for our annual meeting in October 2021, returned to Lansing to speak inside the state Capitol about the business case for further criminal justice reform. Korzenik, author of “Untapped Talent: How Second Chance Hiring Works for Your Business and the Community,” is a tireless advocate for giving people with a criminal record a chance for good jobs in the community. Armed with statistics and research, Korzenik shows how this doesn’t just benefit the job seeker, but the business and wider community as well. This event isn’t yet posted to our YouTube channel, but you can watch the recording of the Livestream on Facebook at

Safe & Just Michigan Working on Plan to Eliminate Prison Phone Fees

Safe & Just Michigan is one of the stakeholders working on a plan to eliminate the phone fees incarcerated people and their families pay to speak with each other.

For years, a percentage of those phone fees have been used to pay for Michigan Department of Corrections (MDOC) programming. This year, as part of the budget appropriation, or budget-setting, process, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer asked for state funds to cover the percentage of the phone fees that the MDOC was using to pay for programming. Those cuts to the phone fees would amount to 2 cents per minute off of the current fee rate of 14 cents per minute.

The appropriation process starts each year in January, and it can take until October for a state budget to be completed. Subcommittees are tasked with setting budgets for each department of the state. This year, a coalition of partners including Safe & Just Michigan and the national organization Worth Rises is asking the legislative subcommittee that sets the MDOC budget to go beyond the governor’s request.

We believe that the phone fees should be completely eliminated. We are asking the subcommittee setting the MDOC budget to have the state cover the entire cost of the phone calls, eliminating the rest of the 12 cents per minute charged to incarcerated people and their families.

Those fees may sound small to people who don’t pay them, but they can pose a large problem to the people who pay them. Prison wages are small, and families with loved ones who are incarcerated often struggle just to pay rent and put food on the table.

Staying in close contact with friends and family benefits an incarcerated person as well as their family and their home community. Several studies have found that maintaining close family ties improves the likelihood of successful re-entry and also benefits the children of incarcerated parents. Communities also benefit when families are stronger and people come home from prison ready to rejoin their families.

Safe & Just Michigan will keep you informed of our work on this project.

Visit our website at If you would like to join Safe & Just Michigan’s efforts, please contact us at
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