Bill Would Compensate Those Wrongfully Convicted of Crimes
- School-to-Prison Pipeline
- Child Welfare Crossover
- Mental Health
- Juvenile Defense
- Juvenile Competency
- In-Home Care Incentive
- PREA, Isolation, Restraint
- Youth in Adult System
- Juvenile Life Without Parole
- Youth Reentry
By: Jason Smith
Individuals convicted and incarcerated for crimes they did not commit would have the opportunity to seek compensation for their wrongful imprisonment under a new proposed bill.
House Bill 4536 would create the “Wrongful Imprisonment Compensation Act”, allowing an exoneree to file a civil lawsuit against the state and receive $60,000 for each year deemed wrongly imprisoned by the court. Additionally, compensations for economic damages could be sought, such as payment for lost wages, attorney fees paid to prove innocence, restitution incorrectly taken, and medical expenses related to imprisonment that were required since being released.
But is this really necessary? Unfortunately yes.
Since 1989, 55 men and women had their convictions overturned after their innocence was proven. On average across the country these individuals served 13 years in prison before release. Regardless of these lengthy stays in prison, exonerees receive no reentry support like their parolee counterparts who actually committed a crime. There is no access to services or resources such as transitional housing, job training and mental care for the people who are wrongfully imprisoned.
Fortunately, the overturning of wrongful convictions has increased across the country over the past decade, including many who were sentenced to death. This increase in exonerations is mostly due to the introduction of DNA evidence, the work of nonprofit legal clinics like the Michigan Innocence Clinic and the increased development of “conviction integrity units” within county prosecutors or district attorneys offices.
HB 4536 would show that Michigan, like 30 other states, Washington D.C., and the federal government, sees the value of repairing the harm exonerees have experienced by having their lives mistakenly interrupted by incarceration.
House bill to help wrongly convicted passes unanimously- by Kathleen Gray, Detroit Free Press
The National Registry of Exonerations– University of Michigan Law School
2014 a Record Year for Exonerations, Report Finds– by Tierney Sneed, U.S. News & World Report