Hundreds advocate for a second chance for those incarcerated

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LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) — More than 200 people stood in front of the Capitol steps today asking lawmakers to support giving a second chance to people behind bars.

Several people held signs of their loved ones today – pleading for a second chance for those incarcerated, especially those sentenced to life at a young age.

“This is not a get out of jail free card, this is a chance for them to show their rehabilitation and to become productive members of society,” said Alexandria Bailey from the Sentencing Project

The Second Look Reform will allow courts to re-evaluate sentences after someone has served a certain amount of time.

“If people are not a threat to society, if we know recidivism is going to be low why would we not have them outside being productive citizens,” said Bailey.

And for many Being a productive citizen means getting the proper treatment.

“So we like to get mental health organizations and service providers involved in reentry so that we can collectively help those folks as they return to our communities,” said Rich Griffin, Campaign Director for Michigan Justice Advocacy.

Paulene Thompson’s son was sentenced to life at just 19 years old.

So far he’s served 29 years.

“I just hope he gets out shortly, and that way he can spend some time with me,” said Thompson.

Brenda Gee traveled from Florida. Today she’s fighting for her brother.

“This is really heartbreaking, and something will be done about it. How can you lock a child up for 33 years, he’s not even responsible for making decisions,” said Gee.

Gilbert Poole was wrongfully convicted and served 32 years. He says something needs to be done.

“There are people who have been incarcerated for way too long, that are medically frail, no longer a threat, they need to take a look at some of these long sentences,” said Poole.

Several lawmakers spoke out in support of the second look reform. They hope to introduce a bill by next year.

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