Today, State Rep. Steve Johnson introduced legislation that would ensure those who have been exonerated of a crime would receive the compensation from the state that is due to them.
In 2016, the Michigan Wrongful Compensation Act was signed into law, which awards an individual exonerated of a conviction with $50,000 for each year unjustly spent in prison. Currently, the Michigan Wrongful Imprisonment Fund only contains $1.6 million, which will likely be totally depleted upon the first few claims by exonerated prisoners.
“The most basic responsibility of government is serving justice accurately and effectively,” said Johnson, R-Wayland. “While I am glad that compensation for the wrongfully convicted was put into law in 2016, the State of Michigan dropped the ball in providing reliable funding, which is totally unacceptable and cannot be permitted to happen again. My legislation would ensure that this deficiency will be met to ensure that those who have been wrongfully imprisoned receive the compensation they are lawfully due.”
Rep. Johnson’s bill directs $10 million from the state’s general fund to cover the Michigan Wrongful Imprisonment Fund shortfall until next year’s budget is finalized, and ensures that the Legislature receives regular reports about outstanding claims and the balance of the fund to ensure this doesn’t happen again.
House Bill 4286 has been referred to the House Appropriations Committee for further consideration.