LANSING, Mich., Feb. 24, 2022 – Today, the Senate Judiciary Committee voted out House Bills 4562 and 4563, which would make the parole process more compassionate for victims of violent crime. Currently, if a prisoner is denied parole, the parole board is required to conduct a review of the case at least every two years, even when there is little to no chance of a prisoner ever receiving parole. HBs 4562-63 would allow parole boards the option to conduct the subsequent review of prisoners every five years, instead of annually, after a denial of parole if the majority of the parole board finds that the prisoner’s history indicates there is a present risk to public safety.
“I am very pleased to see these bills take another step toward becoming law,” said state Rep. Angela Witwer (Delta Township), a sponsor and co-sponsor of the bills. “It’s hard to overestimate the trauma that comes with being a victim of a violent crime. No one should have to relive that experience unnecessarily.”
Witwer crafted this legislation last year with state Rep. Sarah Lightner (R-Springport) in response to the ninth parole board hearing held for Don Miller, an East Lansing serial killer who murdered four women between 1977 and 1978. He is scheduled for another parole hearing this year.
“It can be incredibly hard for survivors of horrendous crimes to move forward with their lives — and it’s even harder when we have a parole system that forces them to relive their trauma year after year,” Lightner said. “The changes we have been working on will better support victims and give them the peace of mind they need to move on with their lives.”