Michigan Justice Advocacy Proposal Concerns

TO: All Concerned
FROM: Michigan Lifers
SUBJECT: Michigan Justice Advocacy

I’m writing on behalf of many lifers (with and without parole) who are very concerned and disappointed after finding out that the Michigan Justice Advocacy (MJA) organization has decided not to include caps for lifers in its bill proposal for prison reform and to focus only on good time for indeterminate sentences. MJA will present this proposal to the public next year and attempt to gather 340,000 signatures in order to place the proposed bill in the ballet for the upcoming election. (MJA) believes it will succeed in passing the good time bill if caps for lifers are not mentioned for now to the public and focus on lifers in some future date.

Are you all aware of MJA proposal?

MJA’s belief is based not on facts but merely speculations that will have detrimental effects on all lifers. You all know, specifically those who have served time that it will be impossible to convince the public or the legislatures to pass a bill that focuses only on lifers. To remind you, how many years it took to abolish life sentences for juveniles, and despite the Supreme Court ruling on this subject, the states continue to fight tooth and nail and refuse to grant relief to many juveniles. We were also promised that after the passing of the juvenile law, the focus will be on caps for lifers, but so far not a single initiative has been made on that subject. The bottom line is that it will be impossible to achieve any reform for lifers if they are not included with the good time bill.

We have put our faith and trust on you all. We also believe that prison reform is for everyone and not for a certain group. Why does MJA attempt to discriminate towards lifers, a group that continue to suffer the most since the truth in sentencing was implemented? Perhaps MJA is driven by conflict of interest, maybe one of its advocates who has a family member incarcerated is desperate in passing the good time and thinking that by leaving lifers out the public will vote for the bill? I can speculate in thousands of ways how to make it easier for the public to be convinced on the prison reform. Will advocates of MJA would have liked that the prison reform would be for first time felons or not violent offenders? I’m pretty sure the public will be easy convinced with only those proposals. But will that be fair to the rest of prison population? I’m pretty sure MJA advocates would not want that because it doesn’t benefit them or their family members!

The prison sentences, not crime, is the reason for mass incarceration. MJA prison reform bill proposal doesn’t take this into consideration. A Prison Reform Bill must include all sentences and look at prisoner’s individual current conduct and who are no longer a menace to society. That’s what prison reform should be about!

To conclude, we lifers ask all organizations to prevent MJA bill proposal and to include caps for lifers in all bills for prison reform. We are also instructing our families and friends to not support any bill that will exclude us.

I greatly appreciate you for taking the time on this matter and hope you will understand and voice our concerns.