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Wrongful conviction payments bill sent to governor

It costs about $35,000 per year to keep someone in prison in Michigan.
Derek Key
flickr http://j.mp/1SPGCl0
It costs about $35,000 per year to keep someone in prison in Michigan.

A bill on its way to Governor Rick Snyder would compensate people who were wrongly convicted of a crime and imprisoned. The legislation would allow former felons to collect $50,000 for every year spent in prison. They would also have to agree not to sue the state.

State Sen. Steve Bieda, D-Warren, says it’s only fair that the state compensate people who did not belong in prison.

“We can’t bring them their time back. We can’t bring back the time they’ve lost with their families, the ability to establish a career, everyday things we take for granted, we can at least when we release these people onto the street, we can give them the ability to have a decent life,” Bieda said.

Sixty-four people have been exonerated in Michigan since 1989. Bieda says people released after a wrongful conviction don’t get any help from the state in finding a job or a home.

“I just feel really strongly that a system of justice that seeks to punish those are guilty, but also to protect the innocent,” he said. 

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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