Petition launched to repeal Michigan’s 1998 “Truth in Sentencing” Bill in early 2022

A campaign of petitions to repeal Michigan’s “Truth in Sentencing” Act of 1998 is expected to begin collecting signatures early next year. If the law is repealed, inmates could earn “good times” credits that could shorten their minimum sentences.

Campaign organizers say the current law keeps people who have rehabilitated in prison when they no longer pose a threat to society. They also say that a bipartisan legislative package to lift some more onerous aspects of truth in sentencing does not go far enough.

“What motivates someone to improve in the criminal justice system when it doesn’t even matter?” They’re still going to serve that minimum sentence, ”Michigan United’s Kenneth Whittaker said.

The organization includes civil and religious rights groups. Reverend Dale Milford is a prison minister and one of the campaign leaders.

“Keeping people year after year longer and longer in prison doesn’t reduce the recidivism rate, okay? It doesn’t matter if they spend five years or 15 years, ”he said. “In fact, the recurrence rate is a straight line after a very short period of years.”

The Truth in Sentencing Act prohibits the use of “good behavior” credits to reduce minimum sentences. The initiative was passed by Michigan voters in 1998. It would take another initiative or qualified majority votes in the legislature to change it.

The repeal initiative can be expected to step back.

“One thing we can never forget is that in the criminal justice system the only person who has never asked to be there is the victim,” said Eaton County District Attorney Douglas Lloyd. . He said “truth in sentencing” provides certainty for victims of crime.

“They want to know how long the person will be there to feel safe,” he said. “And I think it’s fair to the victims so that they also have a chance to find out.”

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