GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — A new package of bills would abolish sentencing juveniles to life in prison without parole in Michigan.

The legislation as written would entirely abolish sentencing juveniles to life without parole no matter what the crime is. Two West Michigan prosecutors, both Democrats, say it’s a step too far.

“This is such a slap in the face of victims,” Kalamazoo County Prosecutor Jeff Getting said. “It’s mind-boggling that it’s even being considered.”

“We are vehemently opposed to this legislation,” Muskegon County Prosecutor D.J. Hilson added. “It’s not very victim-friendly at all.”

Some crimes, like first-degree murder, carry the mandatory sentence for adults of life in prison with no chance for parole. In 2012, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that those mandatory sentences of life without parole for juveniles are unconstitutional.

If the bills pass, the life offenses committed by juveniles before the age of 19 would carry a a minimum sentence of 10 years and a maximum of 60 years. That would allow for the possibility of parole after 10 years behind bars, regardless of the severity of the crime.

“Think of Ethan Crumbley in the Oxford school shooting,” Getting said. “He killed four kids and injured others. Traumatized an entire community. He will be eligible for release from prison after only 10 years.”

Both Hilson and Getting said it’s unfair for victims’ families seeking justice.

“Those families have to be retraumatized and go through the process of living through this again after only 10 years,” Getting said. “After he served two and a half years for each of the persons that he killed, they have to come back and argue for the Department of Corrections to keep him in.”

The Prosecuting Attorneys Association of Michigan is against the legislation, Hilson said.

“It is completely off-base and out of bounds as far as I’m concerned, having dealt with so many victims of these crimes,” Hilson added.

Parole boards would be instructed to consider the offender’s age, maturity, home environment and circumstances around the crime when deciding whether to release the convict. Hilson countered that judges already take those factors into account when determining whether a juvenile should receive a life sentence.

“This legislation takes that and then goes two or three steps forward again to the detriment of victims,” Hilson said.

Tina Olson, the managing attorney at the State Appellate Defender Office, says Michigan is currently an outlier and should follow states like Illinois that have made similar changes.

“It’s bringing Michigan in line with the growing national consensus against this type of punishment,” Olson said.

“It provides hope for the future for our clients who committed their sometimes very heinous crimes when they were children, when they were adolescents, when they were not mature, and who after serving years of incarceration are very different people,” she added.

Olson says in her years of working with defendants, she’s found most suffered physical, emotional or sexual abuse, as well as poverty or violence.

“It means that in crafting a sentence for them and deciding whether or not they should die in prison, we need to take those things into account,” Olson said.

She agrees it would be difficult for victims’ families, but believes juveniles should get a second chance.

“I always want to push back against the thought that children are incapable of change and we need to treat them as some sort of monsters, which they’re not,” Olson said. “They’re remorseful, rehabilitated people.”

Hilson said it’s not only wrong for victims’ families but could also lead to more crime.

“It doesn’t serve victims or victims’ families,” he said. “It doesn’t serve public safety.”

He said offenders are increasingly getting younger and removing deterrents like life sentences without parole could make things worse.

“One of the biggest deterrents we have right now is this idea if you commit felony murder or premeditated murder, first-degree murder, you will go to prison for the rest of your life,” Hilson said. “The deterrent shouldn’t get less; it should remain the same.”

Olson believes most sentenced for crimes when they were younger have reformed and contribute to society.

“This population of clients coming out of prison are an enormously successful contributing great group of formerly incarcerated people,” she said. “They just really are.”

There are two sets of bills: One in the Senate and one in the House. Both are before committees.