Tuesday, May 26, 2009, the Michigan House Judiciary Committee convened a nearly five hour hearing to consider House Bills 4518 and 4594-4596. The bills, if passed, would abolish life without parole (LWOP) sentences for juveniles in the State of Michigan.
The bills would not release a single prisoner. They would merely give parole review consideration to prisoners after serving 15 years who committed their crimes, or were accused of committing their crimes, before age 17.
Click here to view a blog post about the hearing. The author is also inviting people to blog about the issue of juvenile LWOP sentences in his post. You can also click here to view or download the minutes of the House Judiciary Committee hearing.
Revisions were made to House Bills 4518, 4594, and 4596 during the first House Judiciary Committee hearing that convened. You can also click here to view several other related studies and documents on our Scribd document-sharing page.
Residents of the State of Michigan are strongly urged to support passage of these bills. You can join the 95% of Michigan residents who oppose LWOP sentences for juveniles, according to a Wayne State University School of Social Work study, by contacting your State Representatives to pass the bills via phone, fax, e-mail and U.S. Mail.
It is long overdue that the USA join the rest of the civilized world and end LWOP for juveniles. We can no longer be the only country in the world that imposes these deplorable sentences on children.