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Ending perpetual punishment

Photo: / AFSC

The case for commutations for people in Michigan prisons

Written and edited by: Natalie Holbrook, Program Director, Michigan Criminal Justice Program

In the pages of this report, you’ll read the stories of 10 individuals sentenced to serve life or long, indeterminate prison sentences—what we call “virtual life” sentences—in Michigan. Why are we highlighting these stories?

Because they don’t often get heard. At AFSC, we’re fortunate to have the opportunity to work closely with people who have served—or are serving—life or long-term prison sentences. These are people who are often forgotten about once they’re sent to prison, but they are also living proof that healing and personal transformation are possible—that people convicted of serious offenses can return and live as vital parts of our free-world community.

We’re also raising up these stories as part of the growing call and commitment to end mass incarceration in the United States. Any effort to interrupt the U.S. criminal justice system that has disproportionately  criminalized the poor and people of color—and diverted resources from schools, health care, and other programs that truly make our communities safer—must include a discussion of how to help people who’ve committed the most serious of offenses.

We invite you to read more about these issues in the following pages, see our policy recommendations that begin to address them, and explore these firsthand stories. 

Download the report [pdf]


Videos: Watch the stories of some of the people featured in this report


Learn more about the AFSC Michigan Criminal Justice Program



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