Monday, the Governor of Michigan has just passed a new law for prisoners in his state. Gov. Rick Snyder just decided that this new law would send criminals who are receiving their fourth felony conviction to a minimum of 25 years in jail. There are specific parameters for this new law, however. The convicted criminal must be guilty of "serious crimes" which would include: rape, kidnapping, armed robbery, murder, etc. for their fourth convicted crime. In the persons first 3 convicted felonies, they must be in the category that includes home invasions, violent charges, child abuse, etc. there is a list of 47 specific felony crimes that are involved for this law.
At this time, prosecutors estimate there will only be around 25 or so of these cases each year, though in the even a person is convicted under the new laws specific guidelines, then they will be able to receive no less than the 25 years. This new law is called the "VO-4" Bill, which literally means the violent-offense fourth felony. The passing of VO-4 was led by the GOP Attorney General Bill Schuette along with Senator Rick Jones, and R-Grand Ledge, who have the goal of their state being a safer place because of this.
Governor Snyder comments on the new bill saying that he hopes it will help prisoners be held to a higher accountability for what they have done, as well as making sure they stay behind bars for a longer time for their crimes. At this time the costs of this new plan over the next 25 years may cost anywhere from $2.1 to $14.8 million depending how many new convicted criminals receive this minimum sentencing in prison. Despite the spending being to hold the criminals more accountable for their actions, there are many critics of this new law that believe the funds could be used elsewhere.
These critics are addressing the concern that perhaps the money used to make more people spend a longer time behind bars should be spent instead to give rehabilitation to the offenders. Opportunities for substance abuse treatment, and other forms of rehabilitation rather than just locking them behind bars. Governor Snyder slightly addresses this concern, claiming that the parameters for which a person is held to this new law is narrowly limited, and therefore people won't be receiving it who don't completely meet the level of crimes addressed originally.
As a result of this new law, hiring an experienced criminal defense attorney becomes even more essential. If you or someone you know has been accused of a crime, contact the Law Offices of Freedman & Freedman today to discuss your case. We understand that if convicted of a felony crime, a person's life will never be the same. Call us to discuss your situation and to start taking action!