LANSING, Mich. — Senate Bill 291, sponsored by Senator Steve Bieda (D–Warren), was reported out of the House Committee on Criminal Justice today. The bill would provide compensation to individuals convicted and incarcerated for crimes they did not commit.

“This bill will help folks who are wrongfully convicted reestablish their lives without long-term negative consequences,” Sen. Bieda said. “The innocent should not be penalized for mistakes in the system.”

Damages would be calculated based on the number of years for which they were wrongfully incarcerated and would be included on a per year basis.

Exonerees often face tremendous difficulties returning to the workforce upon release. Their job skills are often outdated, and employers may be suspicious of claims of wrongful conviction. In addition, they don’t receive the same type of reintegration services — such as help with housing, employment or medical care — as parolees. Instead, they have to seek financial compensation from the state through lengthy and complex litigation.

The bill now awaits a full vote by the Michigan House of Representatives.

For more information, please contact attorneys David Moran (morand@umich.edu), Marla Mitchel-Cichon (mitchelm@cooley.edu) or Valerie Newman (attynewman@gmail.com) at the Innocence Project.

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