LANSING, Mich., March 18, 2022 — Yesterday, state Reps. Amos O’Neal (D-Saginaw), David LaGrand (D-Grand Rapids), Bronna Kahle (R-Adrian) and Tenisha Yancey (D-Harper Woods) introduced four bills banning life sentences without parole for individuals under the age of 18. They would also provide a minimum sentence of 10 years, provide a maximum sentence of 60 years and allow for parole review after 10 years. 

“‘Juvenile’ is really a legal term for ‘child,’” O’Neal said. “We are introducing these bipartisan bills to make sure that we give children the chance at redemption. We all agree that criminals need to pay for their crimes, but locking up a child for the rest of their life with no chance for parole is simply immoral.”

The legislation reflects changing popular attitudes toward criminal justice policies and greater awareness of the developmental differences between children and adults with respect to judgment, impulse control and susceptibility to peer pressure. 

State Sens. Jeff Irwin (D-Ann Arbor), Michael MacDonald (R-Macomb Township), Sylvia Santana (D-Detroit) and Curt VanderWall (R-Ludington) introduced corresponding bills in the Senate in January.