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Criminal Justice & Legal System

Bill would compensate wrongfully convicted, offer services after release

Image of a prison fence

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. 

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