VAAC Member Bonnie Zabel of Nation Outside and People of Action Coalition organized 3 events in Marquette for Second Chance Month on behalf that were a great success. Local TV news did 2 segments on the events. Even a few Lawmakers were in attendance and able to hear from directly people impacted by the criminal legal system about needed reforms.
Upper Michigan Source/TV 6 did a segment on the round table discussion about prison reforms. Excerpt from the news story: State Representative Jenn Hill said she joined in on the conversation in hopes of learning issues the public is facing. Those in attendance told stories of their loved ones who have been impacted by prison systems. Members of the public in attendance were given an opportunity to start a dialogue with Representative Hill on the process of passing the bills.“We heard from workers at the facilities, as well as people who have family who are serving time. It’s been a very important conversation,” said Rep. Jenn Hill, 109th State House district. “There have been bills that have been introduced and I’m having a chance to learn more about what those bills would do and how they’d directly impact people here in the Upper Peninsula.” Nation Outside representatives spoke about ending life without parole for under-aged people, ending solitary confinement, and increasing access to vital documents (such as State IDs).
Channel 19 CBS News was there to report on the Voices & Art Unlocked art show from the Prison Creative Arts Project. Works on display were created by incarcerated artists and writers. The show has been traveling the state. Excerpt from the news story: Senator Ed McBroom showed his support for the groups, stopping by the event and chatting with organizers. Nation Outside and the Adolescent Redemptive and Restorative Program are advocating for Michigan to adopt a “second look” law. The law, if passed, would give prisoners a chance to have their sentence reevaluated after a decade behind bars.“They have the opportunity to go back to their sentencing court and ask for some relief on their sentence, they get to look at what they’ve done for the decade of time,” Zabel went on to say “how they have rehabilitated and the person they have become.”