Michigan House Republicans
Rep. VanderWall: Mass murderers should go to jail for life
RELEASE|May 9, 2023

Rep. VanderWall issued a statement today about changes he wants made to House Bills 4160-64, a plan he helped sponsor:

“I signed on to this package with the understanding that it had room for improvement, now it’s time to work together to finalize plan we can all agree on. By working with the other side of the aisle, there is a chance we can move the needle and get some things we want instead of closing ourselves off and getting nothing.”

Current statutes allow minors who commit certain serious offenses to be sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole. The bills currently under consideration would allow juvenile lifers to be parole eligible after just 10 years. VanderWall believes that’s not long enough and has proposed amendments that would instead require juvenile lifers to be reviewed for parole eligibility after 25 years in prison.

“This package is based on a good concept but needs some refining. I have had productive discussions with local law enforcement about this issue, and I know that criminal rehabilitation takes many years of hard work,” VanderWall said. “The human brain doesn’t fully develop until 25, isn’t prudent to release them before their brains have fully developed.”

VanderWall’s changes would also eliminate provisions in the bills that allow parole eligibility for those who commit mass murder or terrorism.

“The Oxford shooter was 15 when he committed mass murder. He should absolutely not be parole eligible after 10 years. If the amendments I’ve offered are approved, we will be sending a clear message that acts of violence are not tolerated in Michigan,” VanderWall said. “The law should be clear: a criminal who shoots up a school, will go to prison for life without the possibility of parole.”

HB 4160-4164 were brought up for testimony in the Criminal Justice Committee, where VanderWall presented his proposed changes. The bills are expected to receive a vote next week.


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