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Michigan’s wrongful imprisonment compensation act isn’t perfect

Michigan’s wrongful imprisonment compensation act isn’t perfect

People who are wrongfully convicted and subsequently imprisoned due to that conviction often face an uphill battle. They are behind bars for something they didn’t do, and the court system might seem to drag their appeal cases on.

Often for these individuals, there isn’t a better feeling than the moment they find out that they are going to be released. This is sometimes followed rather quickly by apprehension regarding various aspects of life outside of prison.

Released without a penny

Barring a check received for money that they had in their commissary account, people who are released from prison usually walk away without a penny. They don’t have money for food or housing and must rely on family members or friends to help them. Often, the mark on their criminal record makes it difficult to find a job.

A person who was wrongfully incarcerated shouldn’t have to deal with any of these repercussions. Unfortunately, society often won’t accept a person’s assertion of innocence despite being incarcerated for years. This is devastating.

Wrongful Imprisonment Compensation Act

The men and women who are wrongfully incarcerated in Michigan do have some hope to start fresh when they are released. In 2016, the state passed the Wrongful Imprisonment Compensation Act. This provides eligible individuals with a set stipend of $50,000 per year for each year they were behind bars.

There are some issues with the law since its inception. One is the time limit to file the claim. When it was going through the legislative process, the time limit was 18 months, which attorneys believed was valid since the act is thought to be a stand-alone law. The Attorney General’s office has noted that the time limit is actually six months. The Court of Claims has agreed with the shorter statute of limitation, based on a 47-year-old statute.

A lesson learned

The primary lesson that everyone can take away from this is that claims for wrongful incarceration should be made quickly after the person is released. It is understandable that they might have some other things to take care of first. Still, you should get the filing handled as soon as possible so that you meet the time limit but also so you can be on your way toward getting the compensation you deserve for your ordeal.