Adopted1977, updated 2006
The League of Women Voters of the Midland Area believes that the ultimate goal of local adult correctional efforts should be the rehabilitation of the offender. We recognize that for some offenders, but not all, rehabilitation may need to include confinement and separation from society.
We hold to the principle that efficient and economical government requires competent personnel, the clear assignment of responsibility, adequate financing and coordination among the different agencies and levels of government. With this principle in mind, we would support a variety of correctional efforts, both in jail and in the community at large, aimed a helping the offender function in society.
We support the Michigan Department of Corrections Code for Jails in its requirements for physical health testing and its requirement that there be a general purpose room and areas for exercise.
Diagnostic screening and testing for offenders should be available to design a correctional program appropriate for the individual. Referral to other agencies and contracting for services wherever possible should be used throughout the correction process.
We favor guided rehabilitation programs for those confined to the jail, based on diagnostic screening and testing. These programs could include counseling, education, recreation and exercise, and work-related programs. Local clergy should be available at the jail on a regular basis for religious counseling.
An important priority is helping the offender become employable through job counseling, job training, skills training and work programs. A skills center is a valuable aid in working toward these ends.
We support expanded probation services and favor the establishment of a program center to aid in the rehabilitation of offenders placed on probation and parole. Work opportunities are an important facet of such a center.
Facilities should be provided to separate pre-trial detainees and those taken in protective custody from the inmate population of the jail. For the protection of all detainees, care should be taken in assigning them to appropriate cells.
The jail should provide visiting arrangements, consistent with security needs, that insure privacy. Visiting hours should be flexible.
There is a role for volunteers in the correctional process, but ongoing and necessary programs should not be dependent on volunteers. Citizen advisory boards should be used as vehicles for community education and citizen involvement. These boards could be concerned with development of probation programs, jail rehabilitation, physical facilities, and the community re-entry of former offenders.