In Michigan, we are a state that employs “Truth in Sentencing” which means the concept of good time credit for those incarcerated within the Michigan Department of Corrections are forced to serve the sentence that they receive. With House Bill 5666, there is a chance that prisoners may win a hope at freedom earlier in time.
The bill was authored by David LaGrand (D) and Martin Howrylak (R) in February of 2018 and would provide for the following reductions if approved:
(a) During the first and second years of his or her sentence,5 days for each month.
(b) During the third and fourth years, 6 days for each month.
(c) During the fifth and sixth years, 7 days for each month.
(d) During the seventh, eighth, and ninth years, 9 days for each month.
(e) During the tenth, eleventh, twelfth, thirteenth, and fourteenth years, 10 days for each month.
(f) During the fifteenth, sixteenth, seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth years, 12 days for each month.
(g) From and including the twentieth year, up to and including the period fixed for the expiration of the sentence, 15 days for 16 each month.
To learn more about the effect that this bill could have on criminal defendants in the state of Michigan, we interviewed two of the top criminal lawyers in our state to gather their input on the legislation.
Scott Grabel is the founder of Grabel and Associates and has built a criminal defense firm that is known as the top team in the state of Michigan. When asked about the bill, Grabel said, “Where we stand as a state right now is very difficult for prisoners. Without good time credit, we are costing the state of Michigan a tremendous amount of money and limiting the incentive of the prisoner to improve their personal situation. While the parole board will take into account the behavior of the incarcerated, the addition of good time credit is something that can motivate one to improve their lives and the lives of others expediently.”
William Amadeo is a Partner at McManus and Amadeo in Ann Arbor, Michigan and has built a reputation as one of the top criminal defense attorneys in our state. When asked about House Bill 5666, Amadeo stated, “Michigan is one of only 3 states that do not offer good time credit for prisoners. (Michigan, Montana and South Dakota). On the federal level, we are even seeing initiatives by the legislature to help those that are incarcerated. Housing a prisoner is an expense of over $40,000 per year to our state. If there is an incentive for one to become a better person and capture a chance at freedom, it seems like a win-win for all involved.”
Grabel went on to add, “On the federal level we are seeing legislation that has been approved by President Donald Trump with his “First Step Act” which could provide sentence reductions for the incarcerated. With these measures in place on the federal level, we can only hope that Michigan will follow the lead of the national legislation and give hope to those that deserve a chance to rejoin society.”