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Good Time Ballot Initiative 

Initiation of Legislation to: repeal Truth in Sentencing Law and eliminate mandatory minimum sentences extended by disciplinary time for misconduct; establish new types of earned credits that reduce prisoner sentences for earning a college degree or certification, being employed in prison, working in a training program, or earning special rehabilitation credits for prisoners with disabilities; allow prisoners sentenced as minors or military veterans to earn additional credits; establish board to review prisoner records and earned credits; require Department of Corrections to promulgate rules for disciplinary time and earned credits; apply law to everyone sentenced for a crime committed in Michigan. 

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Redemption & Community

  • Good Time provides a pathway to redemption for people that have completed their minimum sentence and are successfully prepared         

    •  Time spent in prison should not only be corrective focused but to rehabilitate incarcerated citizens and successfully reintegrate them back into community

    • These reforms will help workforce development and improve public safety

    • These reforms will reduce the costs of mass incarceration, freeing up funds for greater investment in  health

  • Strengthens families and improves community stability 

 

Justice

  • Our goal is to cut mass incarceration in half by 2030 through, sentence reduction, second look and new sentencing  guidelines 

    • At the current pace, it will take about 50 years to cut the MDOC prison population by 50%

    • Recidivism rates are not impacted by length of sentence.

    • Truth in Sentencing allows the parole board to become judge and jury all over again for the same crime.--- Which effectively contravenes the 5th Amendment of the Constitution. 

 

Economics

  • According to the Michigan Department of Corrections - Budget Briefing - FY 2020-21, the Average Actual Cost Per Prisoner in 2021 was $42,123.

  • At that rate, a single prisoner sentenced to 30 or more years would cost Michigan taxpayers more than $1 million to incarcerate.

  • In 2021, Michigan allocated $8,700 per student per year

  • $104,400 spent over 12 years on educating one Michigan Child vs. $505,476 over 12 years on incarceration of one Michigan inmate.

  • One out of every five taxpayer dollars goes toward corrections – a proportion of Michigan’s general fund budget nearly twice that of the next highest spending state.

  • The Prison Policy Initiative, an organization working to reduce mass incarceration, estimates that families spend $2.9 billion a year on commissary accounts and phone calls.

References

https://www.house.mi.gov/hfa/PDF/Briefings/Corrections_BudgetBriefing_fy20-21.pdf

https://mea.org/whitmer-signs-20-21-k-12-budget/#:~:text=On%20Tuesday%20in%20Kentwood%2C%20Gov,press%20conference%20announcing%20the%20signing/

https://www.themarshallproject.org/2019/12/17/the-hidden-cost-of-incarceration

https://www.bridgemi.com/guest-commentary/opinion-criminal-justice-reform-right-thing-do-all-michigan

WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW

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Michigan is one of only six states with no policy for Good Time or Earned Time Credits and as such is out of step with the rest of the country. 31 States & the Federal Government provide a way for incarcerated citizens to earn some amount sentence reduction based on their behavior.

Since the 1970s, sentencing laws in Michigan have become increasingly punitive and inflexible, leading to terrible prison overcrowding, budget shifts from social welfare and educational programs to fund more correctional institutions, and disproportionate impacts in the state’s most criminalized and policed communities.

Once a person has served the minimum sentence, the parole board has discretion to decide whether to release the person from prison. The vast majority of other states have some version of a ‘sentencing credit system’ that allows imprisoned people to reduce their sentences and achieve early parole through ‘good behavior’ and/or by participating in educational, vocational and other forms of ‘rehabilitative’ programming.