Safe & Just Michigan

Fall legislative outlook in Lansing

The summer is winding down and lawmakers have returned to Lansing for their fall legislative session. Gov. Gretchen Whitmer gave an agenda-setting speech on Aug. 30, and the fall session began the following week on Tuesday, Sept. 5.

As we noted in our May 30 newsletter, criminal justice reform was not a priority for lawmakers in the first half of the year and we worked to build support over the summer to change that. While we and other advocates spent the summer positioning our priorities to move in the fall, we still have work to do. Many Democrats — including committee chairs and members of legislative leadership — support our priorities and would like to see them move. However, not all members agree, and with one-vote majorities in both chambers, unanimity is needed to pass legislation without Republican votes. Further, it is our understanding that Democrats would prefer to move criminal justice reform legislation in a bipartisan way with at least a few Republican votes — and securing Republican votes for reform packages has been challenging.

Our ask continues to be contacting your lawmakers to ask them to work on criminal justice reform. It would be helpful for them to understand:

1. criminal justice reform is an urgent priority;
2. it's good for community safety, our communities, and our workforce; and
3. it is a powerful way for them to show that they care about their constituents, and that their constituents will respond to that.

We will also be sponsoring or co-sponsoring several legislative advocacy days in Lansing. The first will be to support the campaign to end juvenile life without parole sentences in Michigan on October 3 in the state Capitol’s Heritage Hall starting at 9 a.m. Look below for more details or go to to register, and we hope to see you there.

Listed below are more events we are hosting in the month of October, including our Celebration of Healing featuring Crime Survivors for Safety and Justice National Director Aswad Thomas in Lansing on October 18. We hope to see you at that event and all the other activities going on in the upcoming busy month of October.

Join SJM for headline events in October

The month of October is a month full of activities across the state. We invite you to mark your calendars and reserve a spot to be with us for any or all of our upcoming events. Whether you want to engage directly in policy advocacy activities, learn about our organization, or celebrate with us, we have an event for you. It is important to us to see you at these events. We can’t do this work without you and your dedication to criminal justice reform in Michigan.

Take a moment today to reserve your spot at the events below. You won’t regret it!

Juvenile Life Without Parole Advocacy Day October 3 | Michigan State Capitol - Heritage Hall

Join us on October 3 at the state Capitol as we let legislators know why Michigan needs to end juvenile life without parole sentencing. The U.S. is the only nation in the world still using this harsh sentence, and even in this country, Michigan is among a minority of states that still practice JLWOP sentencing. This free event includes a kickoff presentation that will prepare you to effectively communicate with elected officials, meetings with state representatives and senators, and light refreshments and lunch. Need help with transportation? Let us know by emailing us at This event is co-sponsored by the ACLU of Michigan, the Campaign for the Fair Sentencing of Youth, the Incarcerated Children's Advocacy Network, and the State Appellate Defender Office (SADO).

Register Now for the Juvenile Life Without Parole Advocacy Day at

2023 Membership meeting October 12 | Virtual via Zoom

We invite you to join us for our annual membership meeting, which will be held virtually via Zoom from 7 to 8 p.m. on Thursday, October 12. By registering for this free event, you’ll get to vote on new board members, hear an update on our legislative campaigns and get a legislative forecast for the coming year.

Register now for the 2023 Membership Meeting at
Celebration of Healing October 18 | Crowne Plaza Hotel - Lansing

We’re excited to invite you to an evening of celebration, healing, and fellowship from 5 to 9 p.m. on Wednesday, October 18. Our Celebration of Healing features a presentation from Aswad Thomas, who grew up in Highland Park and who is now the national director of Crime Survivors for Safety and Justice and a vice president of the Alliance for Safety and Justice. We will also be handing out awards to the individuals and organizations who have dedicated themselves to bringing about positive change in criminal justice reform in Michigan, sharing a meal together, and catching up with old and new friends. This event is free, but registration is required.
Register Now for a Celebration of Healing at
Get strategic with us!

If your schedule is booked and you can’t join the events above, you can still share your thoughts with us by completing a brief survey below. The survey is a component of our strategic planning process. Your insights are valued, and we appreciate you taking a moment to reflect with us. The survey is available at

Visit us at To join our efforts, email us at or sign up for our newsletter at