WILL BE THE YEAR TO GET THIS ON THE BALLOT WE HAVE FORMED A NEW TEAM WITH NEW MEMBERS AND A LOT MORE HELP. MORE INFORMATION TO COME AS SOON AS I HAVE THE OK TO POST IT.
MICHIGAN PRISONER REHABILITATION CREDIT ACT
At a hearing conducted this morning, Federal District Judge Matthew F. Leitman, dismissed our federal lawsuit against the State of Michigan. That means that as of today, our battle to place the MPRCA on the November 2020 general ballot is over.
This decision came after the Court was notified that one of the original affidavit's that were used to initiate our case had contained a substantial misrepresentation related to the number of signatures collected. Finding that the suit had been filed under a false pretense, it could no longer be allowed to continue. This only happened after the pandemic hit and everyone was on lockdown, but prior to that we had a pledge of 150 thousand from churches, represented by a canvasser, but then the churches had to be closed down due to Covid-19 and we never received those pledges. The individual responsible for this is currently facing the possibility of sanctions being imposed by the Court, because no one was informed that the signatures were not collected. This team was not aware of that pledge nor that they were not collected until June 23, 2020. The person responsible will also no longer be associated with the MPRCA going forward. When we learned about the discrepancy, we stepped back internally, but also kept quiet so as not to disrupt the current case.
But do not lose hope. Do not lose the fire that that burned so deep and so hot inside each one of you. Our loved ones still need us. While we may have lost this battle, the war is still far from over.
It is only sixteen months before we can begin collecting signatures again. And although we did not succeed this time because of the pandemic and a "technicality," we have learned so much, and met so many passionate people in the last few months, that we can't lose in 2022.
We have already developed a new business model that will allow us to not only become more successful, but also allow us to become much more efficient. This new plan spreads the workload over a much larger group of people to keep individuals from becoming overwhelmed, while also allowing us to be completely transparent with everyone involved. Our new business model will also make it much more likely for us to be able to obtain corporate sponsors to help with the financial aspect.
That is why we are asking for volunteers right now. No matter your background. No matter your abilities. And no matter where you are located - we can use you. We are looking for anyone that has a passion for helping us change these laws that keep our family and friends locked up for longer than any other state in this country.
AND HERE IS SOMETHING VERY IMPORTANT FOR EVERYONE TO REMEMBER. THE MPRCA IS RETROACTIVE. The credits start on the FIRST DAY that person was incarcerated, not when the MPRCA was passed.
So while you may want to give up, you cannot. You must keep the fight alive. You must keep the conversation going. You must be the voice of hope for those 37,000 individuals who have probably just lost all hope. They are depending on us.
So we are humbly asking you again; please reach out to us. Let us know where you are located, and what it is you might be able to help us with. Maybe you are willing to make phone calls, send emails, or mail letters. Maybe you have time to work on our social media sites. Maybe you have an IT background and willing to work with us on setting up virtual town halls and educational forums. Or maybe you have the gift of gab and you're willing to help educate others on why this reform is so desperately needed. No matter your abilities, no matter how much time you can offer, we can use you. We will provide you everything you need to be successful.
In closing, we want to thank each one of you for working as hard as you did. We would never have gotten this far without you. But keep in mind that we also cannot do it in 2022 without you.
The New MPRCA Team
To all of the dedicated supporters of the MPRCA:
First of all, we would like to take a moment to thank each and everyone of you for your continued hard work and dedication. The heart-felt passion that has been so apparent in your words and actions, is the same type of passion that is going to ultimately lead to the passing of the MPRCA, and to end of the outdated Truth-in-Sentencing law.
So where do we currently stand? As most of you know, every Decision issued by the Federal Courts has upheld our initial claim that the State of Michigan has violated our Constitutional right to access the 2020 ballot. However, with that being said, on Thursday, July 24th, the Plaintiffs in our lawsuit, through the attorney, filed a Motion for Voluntary Dismissal of the case. That motion was based on the fact that even with the Courts deciding everything in our favor, the State has not only refused to correct the violation, they have shown that they are willing to spend whatever time and money it takes to prevent our initiative from being placed on the November ballot. A hearing has been set for August 5th for the Court to hear the motion.
Please keep in mind that all is not lost - there is still hope. At the upcoming hearing, the Court could simply grant the motion and dismiss the case, or the Court could find that the State's refusal to compromise is what has left the Plaintiffs with no other choice but to withdraw their lawsuit. In that instance, the Court could issue an Order forcing the State to place our initiative on the ballot. At this point the only thing we can do is pray for a positive outcome on the 5th.
Regardless of the outcome of that hearing, do not be discouraged. We are not giving up. If we are somehow denied access to this year's ballot, we need to recognize that it is only 17 months before we can begin collecting signatures again for the 2022 ballot.
In the event that 2022 becomes our new goal, please know that many things are going to change within the MPRCA as a whole. We are currently in the process of developing a new business plan that will allow us to become much more efficient, and in the end, much more successful. This includes not only an internal reorganization, but also an external reorganization of the way we in which we "go to market." Making sure that we only partner with individuals and organizations that represent the same core fundamental values that can be found in the MPRCA itself, will make it much more likely that we will be able obtain corporate sponsorship. We are also going to find a way in which to establish absolute transparency with our supporters, and a board of members who will decide all key issues. We have learned a lot in these past 7 months, and we will use that knowledge for the betterment of everyone involved. We are hoping for the best, but preparing for the worst.
In the event we do have to shoot for 2022, we are asking right now for the names and contact info of anyone who is willing to be part of our new plan.
Thank you all again for your support. God bless each and everyone of you.
The MPRCA team.
PRESS RELEASE 7/14/2020
State of Michigan Makes One Final Attempt to Suppress the Voice of Minority Communities From Being Heard in the Upcoming General Election
The defendants in the case of SawariMedia LLC vs. Whitmer, are quickly running out of ways to prevent a criminal justice reform initiative from being placed on the November 3, 2020, general ballot.
After multiple decisions from several different levels of the Federal Judicial system were issued against them, the defendants have now asked the United States Supreme Court to intervene. In an Emergency Application to the Court, the defendants have asked that Court to overrule the lower courts' decisions, and to give them permission to deny the supporters of this criminal justice reform initiative an opportunity to vote on the issue.
In an Order issued on Monday, the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals granted the defendants' motion to extend the previous deadline of July 15, to noon on July 17. This deadline pertains to the Court's Order that the defendants must resolve the Constitutional violation they have imposed on the plaintiffs, by requiring them to collect 340,047 signatures for a ballot initiative, while also issuing Executive Orders that made it a crime for people to leave their homes.
What is really troublesome about this scenario is that when politicians in Michigan were running into the same problems with collecting signatures, these same defendants chose to make major concessions in order to allow those politicians an opportunity to be on the ballot.
Michigan's Constitution reserves the right of the people to bring ballot initiatives to the ballot. Why is this administration fighting so hard to deny a criminal justice reform initiative, that primarily impacts poor communities and communities of color, from being on the ballot?
Governor Whitmer, you ran on a campaign of inclusiveness. So why are you now trying to exclude our communities from having our voices heard on a subject that effects us more than you? This is a perfect example of voter suppression.
Now with the Stay At Home order IS lifted we can start collecting signatures with the
Safe Distant rules.
We can still make this happen, now the call to Repeal TIS is even more critical. Simply request to have a petition mailed to you using the button in the top right corner so that you can circulate among your family members. Remember, signers on the same sheet must be registered to vote in the same county . However, if they live in another county no problem, have them sign another sheet labeled with their correct county. Each petition has lines for twelve signatures, here is where you can find answers to common questions.
We have the extension but at this time the state court has not given us the new dead line date so we must stay positive and be proactive.
Right Now WE ALL NEED TO COME TOGETHER, COLLECT
SIGNATURES, DONATE AND SUPPORT in any way that we can.
WE NEED SIGNATURE COLLECTORS TO HELP US OUT
We won the first part of out suit now to collect signatures.
Thank you for your commitment to this cause,
WE WON ANOTHER ONE
UPDATED PRESS RELEASE:
On Monday, Judge Leitman ruled in favor of MPRCA, in the case 20-cv-11246-MFL-MJH SawariMedia LLC et al v. Whitmer et al. The federal judge ordered that it would be unconstitutional for the state of Michigan to exclude our initiative from the ballot solely due to our inability to collect the required amount of signatures, 340,047 by the original May 27th deadline. The following day the state filed a notice of appeal with the 6th Circuit Court, in an attempt to stop MPRCA from appearing on the ballot in November. With that being said MPRCA organizers are using the Eric Esshaki case as a precedent to enforce a deadline extension to July 16th, five weeks from the date that the statewide lockdown was lifted on June 11th. At this point the state's refusal to lower the signature threshold in any way forces us to continue to strive for a 400,000 signature target, 60,000 more than the state's requirement in order to ensure that we have a minimum number of valid signatures. MPRCA organizers will continue to collect as many signatures as possible for the next 3.5 weeks as we battle with the state through an appeal to make our voices heard in the Michigan state election this November.
UPDATE FRIDAY 6/26/20
State of Michigan loses in its 4th attempt to block a criminal justice reform initiative from being placed on the 2020 general ballot.
On June 23, 2020, a federal district court denied the State of Michigan's second attempt to offer what the State deemed to be a fair and equitable resolution to allow the MPRCA ballot initiative access to the November general ballot.
On the following day the State appealed to the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals, while also asking the district court to Stay, or suspend, its previous ruling. The district court denied the State's request.
That decision was the fourth positive ruling that the MPRCA has received from the Court. Initially the Court determined that the State's refusal to modify the signature requirements related to ballot initiatives, when the Governor had issued Executive Orders making it a crime for individuals to leave their homes, was a constitutional violation requiring the State to find a way in which to give the MPRCA a fair chance to access the ballot, while keeping the effects of the current global pandemic in mind.
It seems odd to most Michiganders we talk to, as to why the State is fighting so hard to give the MPRCA a fair chance, when they quickly conceded to the same issues raised by political candidates who were working to have their names added to the ballot.
Those same Michiganders are also asking us why this story is not receiving any attention from the media. Most of them feel that if any other group, business, or person, had sued the Governor, Secretary of State, and Director of Elections in federal court and had won, it would be front page news.
So why isn't this?
While we don't have an absolute answer to that question, the only thing we can conclude is that it is because people are not sharing our story enough. That is why we are asking each of you to dedicate 15 minutes of your time to forward this to any and all media outlets you can find. This can be accomplished through emails sent directly to the individuals who work for news outlets, or through social media postings on their pages. If you have time and are willing, pick up the phone and call them. Ask them why they are not covering such an important story.
Here at MPRCA, we are driven by a single goal; to do our part in making the world a better place for all on both sides of the wall. Our decision making process is informed by comprehensive studies, community surveys and high quality data evaluation. We strive to build productive relationships and make a positive impact with all of our pursuits. The goal of this website is to provide Michigan tax payers with relevant facts that demonstrate why the state is in such dire need of the Michigan Prisoner Rehabilitation Credit Act (MPRCA). We hope that after viewing this information, you will find this cause to be one worthy of your support. Please take the time to get your hands on a copy of this petition, and not only sign it, but collect signatures from others in your county and show up in the November 2020 election to vote for it. It is ONLY with your support that we can make a difference. The passing of MPRCA would be those most significant reform to Michigan's criminal legal system to pass in decades and we are excited for you to join us in this journey.
At MPRCA, rehabilitative development is at the forefront of what we’re working together towards making available in every facility across the state of Michigan. Our programs and events are designed to be a catalyst that helps community members on both sides of the wall reach their goals and fulfill their potential. Learn more about the positive impact we have had in our state, organizing people in order to make our prisons safer by incentivizing good behavior and join us in bringing about this positive change.
The MPRCA is an opportunity for Michigan voters to support the idea of bringing the Michigan prison system in-line with the federal prison system and the vast majority of the other states in this country. Michigan is one of only a few states left in the United States that has no earned credit system available for people who are sentenced to spend time in prison. That is why we are introducing the Michigan Prisoner Rehabilitation Credit Act. This piece of legislation will allow prisoners to work on their own rehabilitation at their own pace, while also earning credits toward an early release if they choose. With the passing of this legislation prisoners will be incentivized to steer clear of violence, participate in rehabilitative programming, achieve higher education goals, enroll in training/vocation programs and work to develop their skills in preparation for their release. All of these activities are different ways that prisoners can be active leaders in their rehabilitative process. We believe that those who have truly been rehabilitated will recognize the opportunity before them, and will work hard toward not just an early release, but toward a higher education, and becoming better people for themselves, their family and community.
We believe that every person has the right to demonstrate their rehabilitative development regardless of the date on which they were sentenced or the date on which they are to be released. We believe that every prisoner has the capacity for change and that every person has the right to redemption that should be recognized in the essence of their humanity, MPRCA embraces that belief.