Michigan’s crime rate presently sits at a 50-year low and its prison population at a 20-year low. So it should follow that the state’s jail population also should be declining, as it has nationally since 2008. Instead, Michigan’s jail population has tripled since the 1980s – with no sign of abating.

The front end of Michigan’s criminal justice system is badly broken, and counties are paying a particularly heavy price. According to a letter to the Pew Charitable Trusts, signed in February by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, legislative leadership and other local and law enforcement leaders, “The majority of spending in county budgets today goes to justice system costs.”

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