Hawaii and Michigan are two of the 20 states without laws in place to compensate wrongfully convicted individuals for their years spent behind bars. Both states currently have bills in the House and Senate which, if passed, would provide the federally recommended amount of monetary compensation as well as damages and benefits to victims of wrongful incarceration.
House Bill 148
Senate Bill 145
would require compensation of at least $50,000 per year of incarceration, and services to wrongfully convicted individuals. The bills have been met with some opposition from the state’s parole agency which claims the state would be more reticent to issue pardons if they came at such a high cost. The agency is also opposed to the provision which calls for lifetime healthcare for the wrongfully convicted person.
An editorial in
Ka Leo Hawaii
argues that the bill would save the state money in the long run by avoiding lawsuits and would encourage the use of best practices among state law enforcement officials when investigating and prosecuting serious crimes.
House Bill 4536
Senate Bill 291
, the wrongfully convicted individual would receive $60,000 per year of incarceration plus lost wages and attorney fees. The bills’ sponsor, Senator Mike Bieda, told the
Ann Arbor News
that passing this bill is the least Michigan can do for its exonerees.
“We should follow the rest of the states and the federal government to try and make these people’s lives (better),” Bieda told the paper. “We can’t give them back their lives, we can’t give them that lost time, the opportunities they could have had, and a family. But, we can compensate them at some minimal amount.”
Read more about Hawaii’s HB 148 and SB 145
Read more about Michigan’s HB 4536 and SB 291