Safe & Just Michigan sends this quarterly newsletter to approximately 540 incarcerated readers at the Michigan Department of Corrections. The newsletter reports on policy updates, outreach and educational activities.

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Note: Due to a Michigan Department of Corrections mailroom policy, the newsletter was released in black and white.

In our most recent printed newsletter mailed to our incarcerated readers, Safe & Just Michigan mistakenly published the wrong date for the voter referendum that ended Good Time in Michigan. That voter referendum took place in 1978, not 1998. It is corrected in this electronic version of the newsletter.

We understand there was a progression from the elimination of Good Time by Proposal B in 1978, to the introduction of Disciplinary Credits in 1982, to their subsequent elimination by the Truth in Sentencing Law in 1998, which remains in effect. There is currently a debate in Lansing as to whether Proposal B requires any earned time program to pass with a three-quarters vote of the Legislature, as is required for changes to voter-initiated laws, or whether Proposal B only applies to Good Time. As a result, any effort to restore Good Time will require either a three-quarters vote of both chambers of the Michigan Legislature, or another voter referendum to reinstate a Good Time policy.

It should be noted that Good Time is distinct from Disciplinary Credits, which were created in 1982 in response to prison overcrowding. Disciplinary Credits were similar to Good Time in that they reduced a minimum sentence for every month served without being cited for misconduct. However, unlike Good Time, the amount of credit didn’t increase over time, and the number of credits available was limited to 84 per year.

These disciplinary credits were then eliminated in 1998, when “Truth in Sentencing” legislation was passed. This law remains in effect.

At this time, there are proposals before the Legislature to bring back Good Time and to introduce Productivity Credits. As noted above, bringing back Good Time would require the approval of three-quarters of the members of both the Michigan House of Representatives and the Michigan Senate. As an alternative, Good Time could also be brought back through a voter referendum.

Productivity Credits, on the other hand, would require people to proactively achieve goals in order to earn credits. Credits could be earned through completing vocational or educational programing, for instance.

Safe & Just Michigan apologizes for publishing inaccurate information. Keeping our readers accurately informed
about criminal justice reform in Michigan and the legislation under consideration in Lansing is among our top priorities, and we sincerely regret this error.

We thank our readers who brought this mistake to our attention, and welcome everyone to contact us with your thoughts, questions and concerns about criminal justice reform in Michigan.