Safe & Just Michigan

This continues to be a promising year for criminal justice reform. The past month saw action on the effort to end juvenile life parole and the work to provide people leaving prison with a state-issued ID. Also, a proposal to bring back Good Time was introduced. Meanwhile, we await committee hearings on the proposals to create a Second Look policy and to create a sentencing commission (also known as a criminal justice policy commission). Please look below for a note on our upcoming move and new address, too.

House Committee holds hearing on plan to end JLWOP

The effort to end juvenile life without parole (JLWOP) sentencing in Michigan is gathering momentum. Following a Senate committee hearing in April to end JLWOP, The House Criminal Justice Committee held a hearing on the plan (House Bills 4160-64) on May 9.

The bills are grounded in existing state and federal Supreme Court rulings that found mandatory juvenile life without parole unconstitutional because it is a “cruel or unusual” punishment. They also remove discretionary juvenile life without parole from consideration, recognizing that adolescent brains are still developing and capable of change.

The hearings featured testimony from former juvenile lifers such as Ronnie Waters and Leon Douglas. Many more people were willing and waiting to give testimony, but the meeting ran out of time.

You can watch Ronnie’s testimony here:; and Leon’s testimony here: The full House committee meeting on ending JLWOP can be viewed here:

It should be noted that opposition to the bills has become organized, with Republican legislators opposed to the plan holding a press conference following the House committee meeting. However, Democrats do hold a slim majority in both the House and Senate.

At this point, we anticipate further committee hearings in both the House and Senate before committee votes are taken. We will keep you up-to-date on the latest news.

Plan to Restore ‘Good Time’ Reintroduced

A package of legislation has been introduced to the Michigan House of Representatives that would restore “Good Time” credits. House Bills 4468-4471 were introduced April 25 but haven’t yet received a committee hearing.

Michigan voters ended Good Time through a voter referendum in 1998. Restoring them will be more difficult than passing a regular law. Michigan’s Constitution places a higher bar to amending or eliminating a voter referendum — either a three-fourths vote of both the House and Senate or a subsequent voter referendum.

The bills have 26 co-sponsors. While most of the co-sponsors are Democrats, there is some bipartisan support. The Michigan Collaborative to End Mass Incarceration, Citizens for Prison Reform, Michigan Liberation, Michigan United, and Michigan Justice Advocacy are leading this effort. Safe & Just Michigan also supports the passage of these bills.

We’ll keep you updated.
Please update your contacts!

Safe & Just Michigan is getting ready to move! We will be moving to a new home as of July 1, 2023. Starting July 1, you can reach us at our new home:

Safe & Just Michigan
119 Pere Marquette Drive, Suite 2A
Lansing, MI 48912

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