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Lawmakers introduce legislation to ban juvenile life sentences

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A Detroit Free Press investigation calls attention to serious understaffing at Wayne County's Juvenile Detention Center.

New Michigan legislation would stop anyone under the age of 19 from receiving an automatic life sentence.

The state Supreme Court deemed that practice “cruel punishment” in a ruling last year.

Jason Smith is the executive director of the Michigan Center for Youth Justice. He says young people have a greater ability to change than adults. "And so when they get into trouble, you have to factor that majority difference, that developmental phase difference when deciding on what accountability looks like."

Under the legislation…anyone age 18 and younger could receive a maximum sentence of 60 years—with the possibility of parole after 10 years.

Similar bills have been introduced in the past without success.