Karma. It’s a term used in politics a lot these days, but today, liberal Democrat Governor Gretchen Whitmer is upset after the state’s absurd catch and release policy contributed to the man who plotted her kidnapping to be freed on a $10,000 cash bail bond.
“We are definitely disappointed in the decision regarding Brian Higgins,” said Whitmer spokeswoman Kelly Rossman-McKinney. “We strongly support the decisions here in our own state which, to date, have kept all the Michigan defendants in jail since they were originally arrested.”
If Whitmer thinks things are bad now in her state as she complains about the $10,000 bail for suspect Brian Higgins, one of nine people charged in the plot, just wait until she sees what happens when her bail reform program is launched.
On April 17, 2019, Whitmer signed an executive order to improve the state’s jail and pretrial system.
“The fact is that we need to take a comprehensive look at the state of our criminal justice system because the status quo is not working for victims, the accused, and those convicted of crimes,” Whitmer said. “That’s why it’s so important to launch this bipartisan task force and ensure that the right people have a seat at the table to find real solutions to real problems in the criminal justice system.”
National sources show Michigan jail populations have nearly tripled in the last 35 years, growing regardless of whether crime was going up or down. With crime now at a 50-year low, hundreds of thousands are still admitted to Michigan jails every year, and people are staying in jail longer on average than before. Half of the people in Michigan’s local jails are awaiting trial and presumed innocent. Many individuals are in jail because they are too poor to afford bail, not because they are a flight risk or threat to public safety.
“I am excited to co-chair this process and build real reforms to make our communities safer and improve outcomes of the people going through our criminal justice system,” Lt. Governor Garlin Gilchrist said, who will serve as co-chair. “We need to take a new approach to the criminal justice system to reduce a person’s contact with the system, treat people with humanity throughout the process, and prepare people for life after the system.”