Snyder calls for prison reform to help former inmates

 Fewer people in Michigan prisons. That's what Governor Rick Snyder wants and he's cutting on reforms that will cut prison rolls and help ex-convicts get jobs.

It's a call to action to help break the cycle of crime in the state of Michigan.

"The vast majority of people that are incarcerated are coming back out and should be coming back out," Snyder said. "The question is, by helping them to become successful, it is a win for all of us."

The Governor says everyone has a part to play in eliminating crime including police, educators and the Department of Corrections. He's calling on state lawmakers to address several issues including eliminating outdated laws that penalize people for minor infractions resulting in a lifelong criminal record.

State Rep. Harvey Santana (D-Detroit) was on hand to support Snyder's announcement.

"As a Democrat from Detroit I lived these issues everyday," he said. "If he needs a strong ally, I hope he would look to me, so I can help him push some of these ideas through."

"Gov. Snyder believes one key to helping erode crime is preparing prisoners to get back into society and that means getting them the skills they need to find employment.

One company helping to answer the call is Goodwill Industries of Greater Detroit, a company where prior offenders are trained and employed to make auto parts through the Flip the Script Program.

 The program's director, Keith Bennett, said it's all about what the freed convicts think of themselves.

"Employment begins a process of self worth," Bennett said. "At Goodwill Industries we've seen what men can do when their forgiveness equals opportunity." 

A problem with alcohol landed Griffin Conrad behind bars. His time was served and he was able to find work thanks to Goodwill Industries

"Just making a better life, a new start," he said.

Snyder says this call to action does not mean he's soft on crime.

"That's where we need to look at, smart justice," he said. "Not harsh justice or weak justice."

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