LANSING, Mich. — Ingham County Prosecutor Carol Siemon is one of 64 prosecutors across the country pushing to reduce the length of the longest prison sentences and to give even those who committed serious crimes the possibility of a second chance.
Some people aren’t happy about it.
Dozens of protesters gathered outside of the Veterans Memorial Courthouse in Lansing to show their frustration.
“We elected you in at the polls to do a job, and she’s not doing that job,” said Miranda Hinton, whose 32-year-old son, Marcus Jackson-Burton, was shot and killed in August. “Clearly, that’s not what she’s doing."
Zacharey Diederichs, the man convicted of killing Jackson-Burton and his brother, Steven Jackson, was sentenced Tuesday to 50 to 75 years in prison, part of a plea deal offered by Siemon's office.
Siemon opposes life sentences without the possibility of parole. She and the other prosecutors who are part of the effort say 1 in 7 people in prison serve a life sentence, and they believe that’s too high.
“She’s not looking at things as a case by case scenario, but she’s basing her options on her own personal beliefs that anybody deserves a second chance,” Hinton said.
The effort supports plea deals and early release for prisoners who are low risk to the community, even those who may have been involved in an armed robbery, assault, and even a killing.
“How does she even hold the discretional power, which apparently a prosecutor does, to completely dismiss Michigan’s life in prison without parole for first-degree murder convictions,” said Karen Jackson.
The prosecutors said keeping people in prison on long sentences has taken money away from schools, parks, prevention programs, and housing.
Protesters said that’s not an excuse, and Siemon should support the families impacted by crime. Now, they’re asking her to resign.
Siemon did not make herself available for an interview.
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