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Bill would compensate wrongfully convicted, offer services after release

Image of a prison fence
Shayan Sanyal/flickr

Legislation up for a vote in the state Senate tomorrow would compensate felons who are exonerated for the time they were wrongfully imprisoned. It would allow $50,000 for every year of wrongful incarceration. It would also offer aftercare services to freed inmates.    

State Sen. Steve Bieda, D-Warren, says Michigan is one just a handful of states that does not compensate people for wrongful imprisonment. He says it offers a measure of justice.

“It does acknowledge that these people were wrongfully convicted,” Bieda said. “They lost their freedom, and it helps put them on a little bit better path on their life going forward.”

Bieda says Michigan is one of just a handful of states that does not compensate people who’ve been wrongfully imprisoned.

“We can’t give people their lost freedom back, but it is a right direction to go as far as trying to rectify some of the wrongs that have happened,” he said.

Under the legislation, Davontae Sanford would collect a payout of about $400,000 for his imprisonment on a wrongful murder conviction. Sanford was sent to prison eight years ago as a 15-year-old for a killing spree carried out by someone else. He was released this afternoon. 

Rick Pluta is Senior Capitol Correspondent for the Michigan Public Radio Network. He has been covering Michigan’s Capitol, government, and politics since 1987.
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