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    The Michigan Collaborative to End Mass Incarceration is a broad-based, statewide, non-partisan collaboration representing non-profit, faith-based, advocacy, grassroots, and service organizations united to end mass incarceration in Michigan. The Collaborative seeks to create and restore healthy communities.

    MI-CEMI has adopted the following goals and objectives to be effective by the year 2030:

    • A 50% reduction in admissions to prison and jail through the increased use of diversionary programs that meet the goals of sentencing;
    • 75% of the population in each prison facility shall be engaged in productive activities at least 30 hours per week;
    • A 50% reduction in the average length of stay of persons admitted to prison through the implementation of sentencing and parole reforms;
    • A 50% reduction in the return-to-prison rate for persons released from State prison, through a rededication to the Michigan Prisoner Reentry Initiative Model, which includes full community engagement and community funding control, codified in law.


    Michigan’s prisons and jails contribute to the larger problem of mass incarceration in the United States. With 31 state prisons and 82 county jails, Michigan has close to 44,000 people confined or detained, and we spend nearly 20% of the state’s General Fund on prisons—more than 2 billion dollars per year. Poor communities and communities of color—specifically Black men—are disproportionately represented in prisons and jails. Due to a drought of community mental health treatment, jails have become holding stations for people with mental illness and drug use issues. Michigan also sends youth into the adult system – 19,124 within the last decade. This reliance on excessive punitive responses to community problems is creating undue burdens on families of incarcerated persons, hardships for people returning to the free-world from prisons and jails, and further trauma for all people impacted by prisons and jails, especially for people with serious and persistent mental illness.


    With large numbers of people committed to working on ending mass incarceration in Michigan we can make a difference. The Michigan Collaborative to End Mass Incarceration is dedicated to leveraging individual and organizational power to reduce our prison and jail populations in this state. 

    MI-CEMI members meet regularly to coordinate efforts, connect to national movements that are addressing systemic inequality and mass incarceration, mobilize people on the ground, and share their areas of expertise.


    We are working together to:

      1. Prevent incarceration through diversion and changes to policing;
      2. Reduce the average length of stay through sentencing and parole reforms;
      3. Provide people in prison quality educational and health programming;
      4. Reduce the return-to-prison rate through robust reentry services;
      5. Reinvest money saved by reducing incarceration back into community;
      6. Lead public education to inform voters and elected officials on issues above.


    Priority projects are chosen by the Steering Team at their annual retreat. All projects must align with our areas of focus, and bring us closer to our goals and objectives. The priority projects for 2022 are:

      1. Ending Life & Long Sentences / Second Look Legislation
      2. Rejuvenating Re-entry Programming in Michigan
      3. Front End Diversion & Alternatives
      4. Wellbeing Programming in Michigan Prisons


    In addition to these projects, MI-CEMI is involved in and supportive of various other initiatives, including these in 2022:

      1. Elimination of cash bail in Michigan
      2. Clean Slate implementation
      3. Sex Offender Registration Act reform


    Learn more about our past priority projects and successes.


    The Collaborative has a limited amount of money to distribute as mini-grants to member organizations to use towards work that aligns with our areas of focus. Learn more about the mini-grant process, and see what we have funded in the past. 


    The emergence of COVID-19 and longevity of the pandemic pose many dangers to individuals in congregate settings, those that have limited access to resources, and to Black and brown individuals – prisons and jails represent an intersection of all those. Read on to find COVID-19 resources, and learn what MI-CEMI and our member organizations have done to try to improve conditions.

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