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Wrongful Conviction Payments Bill Sent To Governor

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A bill on its way to Governor Rick Snyder would compensate people who were wrongly convicted of a crime and imprisoned. 

The legislation would allow former felons whose convictions were reversed or set aside by a court to collect $50,000 for every year spent in prison.  They would also have to agree not to sue the state. 

State Senator Steve Bieda (D-Warren) says it’s only fair that the state compensate people who should never have been sent to prison.  

“They’re not going to get rich off this,” he said, “but it will give them the chance to do something that’s meaningful and allow them to move forward.  We can’t bring them their time back.  We can’t bring back the time they’ve lost with their families, the ability to establish a career, everyday things we take for granted, we can at least when we release these people onto the street, we can give them the ability to have a decent life.”  Bieda said he’s been working on the issue for 10 years. 

The state does not currently offer employment, housing, or other reentry services to people released after being wrongly incarcerated.  Those services are offered to inmates released after serving their sentences.

64 people have been exonerated in Michigan since 1989.

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— Rick Pluta is the Managing Editor and Reporter for the Michigan Public Radio network.  Contact WEMU News at734.487.3363 or email us at studio@wemu.org

Rick Pluta is the managing editor for the Michigan Public Radio Network.
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