Criminal Legal Reform Bills Get Hearings

From our friends at Safe and Justice Michigan

Activity in the Capitol picks up
SJM at office visits, committee hearings

After months of waiting for activity at the Michigan State Capitol, March finally brought the movement we were looking for — in abundance. Here’s a quick round-up of what’s been happening in Lansing, but you can read deeper in our newsletter for more details:

Second Look

HB 4556-60, also known as “Second Look” creates a process for sentencing judges to review a long sentence after a person has been incarcerated for 10 years and, if they believe it’s warranted, reduce sentences that are longer than necessary. This would making it possible to release more low-risk people from prison and reduce the size and cost of Michigan’s prison system. A hearing held March 19 before the House Criminal Justice Committee fielded testimony on this plan but concluded with out a committee vote. We’re hopeful there will be further hearings on this proposal. 

Medically Frail

SB 599, also known as “Medically Frail Parole,” allows people who are terminally ill or mentally or physically incapacitated to be paroled to more appropriate care settings. We need this policy because jails and prisons are not equipped or staffed to provide the complex and expensive  care that medically frail people need. SB 599, which has bipartisan support, is a technical fix to the original Medically Frail Parole statute passed in 2019. Unfortunately, the 2019 statute did not function as intended and only one person has been paroled since the law passed five years ago. The Senate Committee on Civil Rights, Judiciary, and Public Safety held a hearing on SB 599 on March 21 and there is hope that there will be a vote on Medically Frail in April.


Earlier this month, the Campaign for Fair Sentencing of Youth in collaboration with Safe & Just Michigan and other advocates visited 20 lawmakers in Lansing to continue to advocate for ending the practice of sentencing juveniles to life without parole in the state of Michigan. Our Community Engagement Specialist, Ronnie Waters, described what those visits were like in his recent blog post.


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