Criminal Justice Reform
Justice is meant to be blind, but the numbers don’t lie: one’s race, gender, and ethnicity are incredibly predictive of the kind of experience people have within our justice system. Here in Washtenaw County, African-Americans make up 13% of our population, yet they make up the majority of incarcerated people in our jail. Arianne is known for her equity and respect in the courtroom and holding law enforcement to the highest of standards. Arianne will develop an office culture that ensures that justice is being carried out fairly, regardless of the suspected offender’s race, gender, socio-economic status, or ethnicity.
Arianne recognizes the catastrophic institutional failures in our criminal justice system. She supports the immediate evolution from the strictly punitive tough-on-crime era which led to the advent of mass incarceration to a restorative and rehabilitative system that will promote community safety and healing. Arianne is committed to working with local defense attorneys and legislative leaders in Lansing to make a path to expungement more readily-accessible for those individuals who no longer pose a risk to our community. Arianne will also support resolutions of cases based on their individual merits and not adhering to blanket policies designed to enforce punishment. Arianne is committed to working with Sherriff Clayton to implement the LEAD program, (Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion). This program will provide treatment for those who have contact with law enforcement who are not a danger to our community but present in crises from mental health or substance abuse-related issues.
Arianne recognizes that the traditional justice system very rarely leaves victims of crimes feeling fulfilled by the court process. This is why Arianne is committed to implementing restorative justice practices. In cases that do not present a danger to our community, Arianne supports the integration of peacemaking circles, mediation, and victim-offender conferencing when the victim agrees. These practices will lead to victims feeling more satisfied with the process and promote healing for the offenders and accountability to our community.
Lastly, Arianne knows that we cannot forget the ways in which the system has already failed, which is why Arianne supports the creation of a Conviction Integrity Unit (CIU). This unit will be tasked with investigating claims of innocence or wrongful conviction.
The criminal justice system must change to earn the trust and confidence that our Community deserves. A lack of transparency, deplorable inequities relating to race, gender, and socio-economic status of charged individuals and the staggering statistics about the demographic makeup of our jails further support the lack of trust stemming from hundreds of years of institutional inequality. In Washtenaw County, we are fortunate to have engaged activists, non-profit organizations, elected officials, and faith-based communities who are committed to substantive criminal justice reform. Arianne will use her professional experiences and vibrant collaborative spirit to engage our community members to be a part of reform work here in Washtenaw County. Arianne will encourage community policing, candid, and frank community conversations about the current institutional failures regarding race, gender and ethnicity. Arianne will foster collaboration with the community to put forth reforms that will set the standard not just in our state, but in this country.
Arianne supports the training of law enforcement, prosecutors, and victim/witness advocates in the areas of diversity, equity, and inclusion. As a law enforcement trainer, Arianne understands that these concepts need to be shared recursively to be integrated into the fabric of our system. Arianne believes that trauma-informed interviewing techniques, and understanding of ACE’s, or acute childhood experiences are instrumental to effective and respectful communication. Arianne will work with the Sheriff’s office and local police chiefs to bring these vital training programs into the Washtenaw County criminal justice system.
Alternatives to Incarceration
As the Washtenaw County Prosecutor, Arianne will work to expand and implement effective countywide programs that prioritize treatment over incarceration for adolescents, people suffering from mental health and substance abuse challenges, and those in need of wrap-around services. These programs, including pre-arrest “deflection” and post-arrest “diversion”, which give law enforcement officers, prosecutors, and judges effective options for alternatives to arrest or incarceration in ways that do not compromise public safety.
As a Senior Assistant Ann Arbor City Attorney, Arianne has been diverting and deflecting cases for people who do not pose a danger to the community. Effective diversion programs will help our community heal and lead to a safer county. Diversion affords the opportunity for someone to receive services that address the root causes for adverse interactions with the criminal justice system. Individual action plans include treatment for mental health issues, challenges with substance abuse, and connecting with other social services lay the foundation for rehabilitation and healing for offenders and victims alike. Offender-victim conferences and community service are often terms of a diversion or deflection program.
In addition to diverting cases, Arianne has served in every treatment court in the County to which people might be diverted, if appropriate. These courts are also sometimes referred to as “specialty courts,” and they include the Mental Health Court, Sobriety Court, Street Outreach Court, Veteran’s Court, Women’s, and Drug Court. Arianne is the only candidate in this race who has worked as a member of each court’s team that manages the participants. Arianne is a current member of the Mental Health Treatment court team in the 15th District Court.
Arianne not only supports increased diversion and deflection programs but is the only candidate with experience implementing them in our community.
Washtenaw currently has several specialty courts, including Veteran’s, Mental Health, Sobriety, Street Outreach, Drug, and Women’s Court. Each court serves as a treatment team for its participants to address the root causes that contributed to their involvement with the criminal justice system. The treatment team makeup varies depending on the court. Each team is composed of the judge, prosecutor, defense attorney, and probation agent. Teams also include treatment providers associated with each specialty, like Community Mental Health, Home of New Vision, and Dawn Farm, as well as other community partners relating to employment and housing. The goal of each team is to support each participant with individualized scaffolding to promote rehabilitation and accountability. These teams provide lifelines for some of our most vulnerable members in the community.
During her years as an Assistant Prosecutor, Arianne has participated in every specialty court in Washtenaw County. She is supportive of the 22nd Circuit Court’s plans to bring a Drug Treatment Court in the near future. Arianne understands that individuals suffering from mental health and substance abuse are often at the mercy of their illness, which will not improve long term if incarceration is the only order by the court. Arianne supports a treatment approach to illness to promote lasting benefits to the participant and the community. As a current member of the Mental Health and Street Outreach teams, Arianne believes in the success of this method and will work with the courts and community to bring it to all probation participants in Washtenaw County.
Root Out Domestic Violence
Arianne has spent her entire career fighting for justice for survivors of violent crime and has been particularly passionate when it has come to advocating for survivors of domestic and sexual abuse. For six years she led the Washtenaw County Prosecutor’s Office Domestic Violence Unit, prosecuting and supervising hundreds of cases. Arianne understands that survivors of violence often suffer from trauma associated from an assault, the stigma and judgement when reporting, and in many cases, they have the added burden of still living under the pressures afforded by their assailant.
Arianne acknowledges that the current law enforcement culture needs to improve in relation to investigating crimes of domestic and sexual violence. As a result, Arianne expanded her practice beyond the courtroom and became one of Michigan’s leading experts in training police and prosecutors on how to better serve survivors of traumatic assaults.
For the past ten years, Arianne has been at the center of every advancement in domestic violence investigation and prosecution in our community. From the Washtenaw County-wide protocol for domestic violence response, the training of law enforcement to conduct lethality risk assessments, and even strengthening the relationships between law enforcement and our community service providers like SafeHouse Center, Arianne has led the charge.
As the Washtenaw County Prosecutor, Arianne will create a climate within law enforcement, where survivors of violence are encouraged to share their experiences, law enforcement will adhere to trauma-informed protocols during their investigations, and education will be on-going with the community. Arianne will continue to devote energy to destigmatize the reporting of domestic and sexual violence, especially for survivors of color, undocumented individuals, and those in the LGBTQ community, areas where reporting is tragically low.
Since early 2020, our community has been forced to grapple with the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. For the criminal justice system, this has posed a complicated task for keeping incarcerated populations safe, while residing in close-quarters. Arianne believes that we must release non-violent offenders awaiting trial, and stop arrests and other police activity that is not required for the immediate protection of the public.
In addition to our jails, the State’s prisons should also focus on releasing vulnerable and elderly populations who pose no risk to the community if released. Furthermore, Arianne supports the State of Michigan’s Department of Corrections efforts to employ systems to physically distance and isolate incarcerated individuals who become ill, and provide the necessary medical care to ensure that no-one dies in jail because of this virus.
If you or a loved one is in need of resources during this pandemic, please visit the following links to find out more information about resources available in our community and state: