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[box type=”default” size=”large”] Senator Bieda notes woes of wrongfully jailed individuals [/box]

LANSING — Senate Bill 291, sponsored by Senator Steve Bieda (D–Warren), was reported out of the House Committee on Criminal Justice last Sept. 20.

The bill seeks to give compensation to individuals convicted and incarcerated for crimes they did not commit.

“This bill will help folks who are wrongfully convicted reestablish their lives without long-term negative consequences,” Bieda said. “The innocent should not be penalized for mistakes in the system.”

Damages would be computed based on the number of years during which they were wrongfully incarcerated.

He observed that exonerees often face tremendous difficulties returning to the workforce upon release. Their job skills are often outdated, and employers may be suspicious of claims of wrongful conviction.

In addition, they don’t receive the same type of reintegration services — such as help with housing, employment or medical care — as parolees. Instead, they have to seek financial compensation from the state through lengthy and complex litigation.