500 signatures reached
To: Michigan's Governor Gretchen Whitmer, Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson and Election's Director Jonathan Brater
Pass the Michigan Prisoner Rehabilitation Act
Add the question of repealing TIS laws Michigan's 2020 Ballot
Why is this important?
TIS laws need to be repealed in Michigan
The Michigan Prisoner Rehabilitation Credit Act (MPRCA) is an initiative petition has been collecting signatures since January 2020 to add the question of repealing truth-in-sentencing (TIS) to the state ballot this November.
As a part of our canvassing efforts, on Big Tuesday, March 10, 2020, MPRCA collected thousands of signatures in support of repealing Michigan’s outdated TIS laws, the main contributor to overcrowding and depleted conditions in our state prisons. On that same day, Tuesday March 10th, Gov. Whitmer declared a state of
emergency in response two Michiganders testing positive for the coronavirus.
On Tuesday March 24th once the lockdown went into effect MPRCA, along with every other people’s initiative, was no longer able to effectively canvass under the stay home, stay safe order. After many months of organizing, our entire campaign was forced to restructure overnight. In an attempt to remedy the situation, that same week we contacted the Secretary of State in partnership with a number of ballot question committee seekers, to request one of the following remedies to the crisis that the coronavirus created for petitioners:
• A reduction in the amount of signatures required
• An extension to the May 22, 2020 submission deadline and/or
• The ability to collect signatures online
Sadly, none of these requests where approved and as a result the people’s voice had been washed out of Michigan's upcoming election by a combination of circumstances completely out of our control: the statewide lockdown along with decision
makers refusal to offer a remedy.
Despite this we have continued to preserve in good faith. We filed a federal lawsuit against Michigan's Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson and Governor Gretchen Whitmer requesting a remedy. Our Judge ruled that it is unconstitutional for the state to exclude MPRCA from the ballot based upon requirements that did not recognize the limitations of the coronavirus pandemic.
With new found hope in an appropriate remedy to the situation, we hope that the voices of the tens of thousands of people who support the repeal of TIS will be considered. We hope that the policies outlined in Michigan Prisoner Rehabilitation Credit Act to eliminate overcrowding in our state prisons would rise to the level of discussion in our state legislature, especially during this unprecedented time where bursting prison populations have created uncontrollable conditions for protecting Michiganders from the spread of Covid-19.
Michigan is one a select few states left in the country that has no earned credit system for people incarcerated in its state prisons. Now is the time to transform Michigan’s prison system by making the overdue changes to our sentencing structure that would embrace the individual experiences of every incarcerated person. Please consider the tens of thousands of lives whose likelihood of contracting the coronavirus rapidly increase with each day that they are not released.
We believe that MPRCA provides a healthy solution to the problem that TIS laws have created in our state. Please consider adjusting the requirements for adding MPRCA to the ballot and put our state prisons in line with our county jails, the federal government and the vast majority of corrections departments across the country that provide early release incentives to people in prison.