·  Legal News, Analysis, & Commentary

News & Politics

Criminal Legal Reform Advocates Rally at Michigan State Capitol

— March 15, 2024

Rally Comes Ahead of Michigan House Hearing on Second Look Sentencing Act

Lansing, Michigan – On Tuesday, March 19 at 8AM Local Time, criminal legal reform advocates, formerly incarcerated individuals and their families, people who have been directly impacted by violent crime, and experts will rally on the steps of the Michigan capitol in support of the Second Look Sentencing Act. This legislation would provide an opportunity for incarcerated individuals to petition their sentencing judge for a reduction of their sentence after serving at least 10 years and if they are deemed to no longer pose a risk to the community.

Media is encouraged to attend and speak with directly-impacted people, advocates, and experts, including:

  • Senator Stephanie Chang
  • Representative Kara Hope
  • Representative Jimmie Wilson Jr.
  • Alexandra Bailey, Senior Campaign Strategist with The Sentencing Project
  • Reverend Cheryl Burke, United Church of Christ
  • Cozine A. Welch, Jr., formerly incarcerated poet and educator
  • Nabil Zebib, whose family has been directly-impacted by violent crime
  • Many others


  • Rally at the Steps of the Michigan Capitol, 8:00AM Local Time
  • Hearing on Second Look Sentencing Act: Room 521, House Office Building, 9:00AM Local Time


Research shows that the Second Look Sentencing Act can make our communities safer, save Michigan taxpayers money, and create a more just and humane criminal legal system. Years of research has demonstrated that lengthy prison sentences do not have a significant deterrent effect on crime. Instead, they divert financial resources from programs that could actually have a meaningful impact on public safety here in Michigan. Evidence also clearly shows that people age out of crime. Even people who engage in repeat offending beginning in young adulthood usually desist by their late 30s.

Keeping people in prison – in many cases long past their physical ability to even commit a crime – isn’t making us any safer.

Image by PrisonImage, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons.
Image by PrisonImage, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons.

Michigan is also spending millions of dollars to incarcerate people who no longer pose a threat to society. The annual per-person cost of imprisonment in Michigan ranges from $34,000 to $48,000, depending on the security level. Beyond these costs are medical costs, which rise with age, running about $8,000 for medical, dental, and psychological services per incarcerated person. Multiply that by the approximately 5,000 people serving life sentences in Michigan, and the numbers are shocking. Taxpayers deserve better.

Michigan has the fifth-highest population of people sentenced to life in prison nationwide, and the number of people serving ten years or more in prison is twice the national average. Black people in Michigan are overrepresented in the population serving longer sentences. More than half of the prison population in Michigan is Black, and racial disparities are even more heavily skewed among the imprisoned population who were young at the time of the offense (65% Black) and those serving terms over 10 years (70% Black).

Groups supporting the rally and Second Look Sentencing Act include:

  • American Friends Service Committee
  • Detroit Justice Center
  • Interfaith Council for Peace and Justice
  • Michigan Collaborative to End Mass Incarceration (MI-CEMI)
  • Nation Outside
  • Safe & Just Michigan
  • The Sentencing Project
  • State Appellate Defender Office
  • The United Church of Christ- Michigan Conference
  • ACLU of Michigan
  • National Lifers Association

Join the conversation!