As an official endorsement from the Michigan Collaborative to End Mass Incarceration (MI-CEMI), we fully endorse Representative Stephanie Young’s proposed legislation, House Bill 4427, aimed at restoring limited Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) access to incarcerated individuals. We express our gratitude to Rep.Young for her efforts in bringing forth this critical legislation, which we believe will have a positive impact on the lives of thousands of incarcerated individuals.
By providing incarcerated persons with access to their own records and records pertaining to their dependent children, this bill will create necessary pathways to address probate, wrongful convictions, post-conviction relief, and other judicial issues. We recognize that this legislation represents an important step towards reform. However, we also acknowledge that the costs associated with FOIA requests may limit the ability of incarcerated persons to access necessary records.
Moreover, we assert that incarcerated individuals retain the same rights as their unincarcerated counterparts and are therefore entitled to equal access to judicial relief and public records. We urge lawmakers to work towards eliminating the charges levied on incarcerated individuals for accessing public records related to their cases, and to restore full FOIA access to incarcerated individuals in Michigan.
In conclusion, we strongly advocate for the passage of this bill, recognizing that it is a vital first step in providing incarcerated individuals with a fair chance to seek justice. We call upon policymakers to continue working on this issue, and to remain steadfast in their commitment to eliminating mass incarceration and ensuring justice for all.