LANSING – A bill authored by Rep. Marcia Hovey-Wright (D-Muskegon) that is part of a package that would make more youthful offenders eligible for participation in the Michigan Holmes Youthful Trainee Act (HYTA) has been passed by the House and advanced to the Senate for consideration. The bill is part of a three-bill package aimed at reducing youthful recidivism, reducing incarceration costs and protecting young offenders who are incarcerated in Michigan.
“Young people who have committed nonviolent crimes deserve a chance to learn from their mistakes and move forward with their lives,” Hovey-Wright said. “Instead of giving up on them, we should help them turn their lives around. I’m glad that my bill is part of a bipartisan solution that will help young offenders in Michigan move past their mistakes and build productive lives.”
Hovey-Wright’s House Bill 4169 would:
- Make certain low-end, non-assaultive offenses ineligible for HYTA prison. For offenses involving controlled substances, breaking and entering, larceny, unlawfully driving away a vehicle, carrying a concealed weapon or unarmed robbery, a judge will not be able to sentence HYTA offenders to prison. Instead, local options, such as jail and/or probation, must be used.
- Maintain segregated housing units for HYTA offenders between the ages of 17-20 in order to keep younger offenders separated from older HYTA offenders and regular adult prison inmates.
- Lower the maximum amount of time that an individual can be placed in HYTA prison from three to two years. Most HYTA offenders spend 18 months to two years in HYTA prison. This change would alleviate the fiscal impact of housing HYTA offenders for three years.
- Allow HYTA prisoners to be placed on probation for up to 1 year after serving their sentence, requiring local courts to continue to supervise the offender for up to a year following a prison term.
Other bills in the package include HB 4069 from Rep. Harvey Santana (D-Detroit), which would expand the HYTA participation age limit to include 21- to 23year-olds; and HB 4135 from Rep. Kurt Heise (R-Plymouth), which would require judges to revoke HYTA participation if an offender goes on to commit certain crimes, such as home invasion, carjacking, criminal sexual conduct or felonious assault.
“These are common-sense approaches to reducing recidivism and protecting youthful offenders that have been recommended by the nonpartisan Justice Center at The Council of State Governments,” Rep. Hovey-Wright said. “When taken together, these bills would make sure young offenders are given an opportunity to turn their lives around, instead of consigning them to a life of crime.”