We encourage everyone to broaden their civic engagement beyond voting. The people we vote into office will have an impact on the criminal legal system through the bills they write and support. By reaching out to legislators you can encourage them to write and support legislation related to the issues that matter to you.

Take Action

Find your Michigan State Senator and Michigan State Representative.

Tell your Senator and Representative about the legislation you want them to support and why.

  1. Call them
  2. Email them
  3. Go to their website, and sign up for their newsletter where you will learn about their coffee hours, and other opportunities to interact with them. We encourage you to attend where possible.

Also, where available, we have provided links to Actions related to the legislation listed. Find it by clicking the + to expand the information.

Below are several of the issues currently under consideration that will impact the criminal legal system in Michigan. (Click the + to learn more about each issue)

Courts have ruled that automatically sentencing youth to life without parole is cruel and unusual punishment. Michigan State lawmakers have introduced legislation that would ban judges from giving out life sentences without the possibility of parole to anyone under the age of 18.

Michigan Senate Bill 0119 and Michigan Senate Bill 0123 Amends penal code to exclude life without parole sentences for people who were less than 19 years old at time of crime.

Michigan House Bill 4160 Creates parole review standards for people initially sentenced to life without parole for a crime committed before age of 19.

Michigan House Bill 4164 Amends probate code to prohibit juvenile life without parole (JLWOP)

“Good time” legislation, a monumental initiative that allows people incarcerated in the state’s prisons to earn time off their sentences, rewards good behavior and program participation, and creates a safer, more purposeful prison environment.

Learn more from Michigan Justice Advocacy here.

 Michigan House Bills 4468, 4469, 4470, 4471

Second look sentencing would allow courts to reevaluate a person’s sentence after a significant period of time served in prison and determine if that sentence is still necessary. Incarcerated individuals are able to petition their sentencing judge for a reduction of their sentence after serving at least 10 years and if they are no longer a risk to the community.

Michigan House Bills 4556-4560 
Michigan Senate Bills 321-325

Thousands of people incarcerated in state prisons are counted in communities where they are incarcerated rather than their home community. Several states, and a growing number of cities and counties across the U.S., have sought to end this practice, called prison gerrymandering.

Learn more from Voting Access for All Coalition here.

Sign a letter supporting this legislation here!

Michigan Senate Bill No. 0033 would end the practice of prison gerrymandering in Michigan by requiring that the pre-incarceration address of incarcerated individuals be reported when providing information for voting district population counts.

Criminal background checks have been used for far too long to exclude people from housing. A conviction has an end date, shouldn’t the punishment? Everyone deserves a home. Housing is a human right for all of us, not just for some. But for nearly 1 in 3 Michiganders with a criminal record, access to safe and affordable housing remains out of reach.

Learn more from Nation Outside here.

Sign a letter showing your support here!

The Michigan Fair Chance Access to Housing Act, Michigan House Bill 4878, has been introduced by Rep. Abraham Aiyash.

Michigan’s bail system is badly broken. It is a key driver of mass incarceration and disproportionately impacts Black and Brown people. On any given day, over half of Michigan’s jail population – about 8,000 people presumed innocent but who can’t afford bail – remain locked behind bars, still waiting for their day in court.

Learn more from ACLU here.

Take Action with ACLU Bail Reform to Send a message to your legislators.

Learn about the status of Michigan Bills

For more information and status on these and other bills in Michigan, you can check out the 2023-2024 MI-CEMI Bill Tracker: Core Legislation. Thanks to our partner, the Michigan Collaborative to End Mass Incarceration for making this resource available.

Also, you can look up any Michigan Bill on the Michigan Legislature page.

To learn more about the steps in passage of a bill in Michigan check out this valuable guide.