LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) — A Wednesday morning rally at the state Capitol featured advocates urging lawmakers to pass legislative reforms reducing “extreme” sentencing practices.
The sentencing practices include “second look” reforms, which would allow courts to re-evaluate sentencing after an inmate has spent a certain amount of time in prison.
“Michigan policymakers must take steps to reduce the use of extreme sentencing. We can start by passing Second Look legislation, which would allow courts to re-evaluate sentencing after people serve a certain amount of time in prison,” Natalie Holbrook of the American Friends Service Committee. “Our policymakers should pass Second Look legislation this year to allow courts to give people a chance at freedom and healing.”
Reynaldo Flores is one of many who attended the rally on Wednesday. Flores has a brother who is currently incarcerated.
“ It’s rallies such as this or information that’s being dispersed. They give people a better understanding of what’s going on in their society,” said Flores.
“These men and women that are behind bars still in prison because of statutes or laws that were established many years,” he continued.
Michigan has the fifth highest population of people sentenced to life in prison, with more than 5,000 people serving life sentences, while more than 32,000 people are serving terms from one year to life without parole.
The prison population in Michigan is also affected by racial disparity. More than half of the prison population in Michigan is Black, as are 70% of those serving terms of more than 10 years.
“It is time for the Michigan legislature to stop wasting resources on mass incarceration and take steps to make our criminal legal system more humane and our communities safer,” said Alexandra Bailey, Senior Campaign Strategist with The Sentencing Project.