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Bridge Michigan
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Michigan elections FAQ: Will ‘good time’ off prisoner proposal be on ballot?

 No trespassing sign outside prison fence with barbed wire
An initiative to shorten prison sentences for inmates with good behavior has failed to make Michigan’s November ballot. (Shutterstock)
  • Bridge is answering questions from readers throughout the campaign season
  • One reader asked if a ‘good time’ credit system for prisoners will be on the ballot this election season 
  • Because organizers did not collect enough petition signatures, the measure won’t make the November ballot

Bridge Michigan is inviting readers to ask questions about politics and elections as part of our new Voter Guide

One reader asks: Is time for good behavior for prison inmates going to be on the ballot?

In short, no. This measure will not be on the ballot.


Beginning in August 2023, the nonprofit Michigan Justice Advocacy began collecting signatures for a petition to establish a “good time” credit system for prisoners. The measure proposed subtracting 30 days from a prisoner’s sentence for every 30 days they did not commit class 1 misconduct, which is the Michigan Department of Corrections’ most serious classification for violating written rules. 


The group collected more than 17,000 voter signatures, according to Jack Wagner, president of MJA, who said Wednesday he is still working on a final tally. 

But in order to initiate legislation for the November 2024 ballot, the group would have had to collect at least 356,958 signatures in 180 days. Organizers moved their petition end date to April 30 with the hope of collecting more signatures, but the group was still unable to collect enough within the required timeframe. 

“We were hoping as the campaign went on, we'd see the rate of signature collecting going up,” Wagner told Bridge. “We still wanted to extend the campaign, and demonstrate at least what kind of support is there for this topic.”

The deadline to submit petition signatures for a ballot proposal was May 29. MJA did not file required signatures in time, meaning the “good time” measure will not be on the November 2024 ballot. 

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