corrections http://michiganradio.org en Lawmaker wants to prevent taxpayer funded sex-changes in prison http://michiganradio.org/post/lawmaker-wants-prevent-taxpayer-funded-sex-changes-prison <p>A state lawmaker says tax-funded sex changes for prisoners need to be outlawed. The Department of Corrections says it already has a policy to reject sex-change requests.</p><p>Republican state Representative Tom Hooker says even though there is a department policy against granting tax-funded sex change operations, it needs to be set in Michigan law.</p><blockquote><p>&ldquo;It&rsquo;s certainly not targeting any specific lifestyle or organization. I&rsquo;m trying to save the taxpayers of the state of Michigan money.&rdquo;</p></blockquote><p>Hooker says it could cost taxpayers between 20 and 60-thousand dollars per sex change, with ongoing hormone therapies. And Hooker says he hopes to make sure taxpayers do not foot the bill for other elective surgeries for prisoners. But he says this was a good place to start as a preventive measure.</p><p>A spokesman for the Department of Corrections says they do receive occasional requests for sex change operations, and those requests are denied. He says the prisoners argue it is not an elective surgery, but rather a matter of mental wellbeing. Fri, 26 Aug 2011 10:35:41 +0000 Laura Weber 3923 at http://michiganradio.org Proposed prison closing angers lawmaker http://michiganradio.org/post/proposed-prison-closing-angers-lawmaker <p>A Detroit lawmaker is angry over what he calls a unilateral decision to close the Mound Road Correctional Facility in the city.</p><p>Representative Fred Durhal is a member of the House Appropriations Corrections Subcommittee, but he says he was not consulted about closing the Mound prison.</p><p>Durhal says Rep. Joe Haveman told the committee only they would close a prison in the north, south, east and west parts of the state in a budget-cutting move.</p><blockquote><p>&quot;It caught me by total surprise,&quot; Durhal says. &quot;I have not had an opportunity to look into just where those prisons would be, if those are the criteria that he is using. I think they should have had some discussion inside of the entire committee.&quot;</p></blockquote><p>The Mound Road prison is one of the state&#39;s newer facilities. It houses about 1,000 prisoners and employs about 200 people. Sun, 17 Apr 2011 16:15:14 +0000 Rina Miller 2103 at http://michiganradio.org Proposed prison closing angers lawmaker Michigan sees decline in prisoner return rate http://michiganradio.org/post/michigan-sees-decline-prisoner-return-rate <p>Michigan is one of the nation&rsquo;s leaders in prisoner rehabilitation according to a new study from the <a href="http://www.pewcenteronthestates.org/initiatives_detail.aspx?initiativeID=85899358529#turning">Pew Research Center</a>. The number of Michigan parolees who return to prison has declined 18 percent since 2000. The Pew Center credits the drop to <a href="http://www.michigan.gov/corrections/0,1607,7-119-9741_33218---,00.html">Michigan&rsquo;s Prisoner Re-Entry Program</a> (MPRP).</p><p>John Cordell is with the Michigan Department of Corrections. He says the MPRP reduces crime rates, &quot;which results in less spending on corrections here in Michigan.&quot;</p><p>Not all parolees are part of the MPRP. Cordell said the programs are based on need:</p><blockquote><p>&ldquo;The Michigan&rsquo;s Prisoner Re-Entry Program, we target parolees that are more likely to fail, in the community, with re-entry services.&rdquo;</p></blockquote><p>Before the program began in 2005, half of Michigan&rsquo;s parolees returned to prison. Now, only one in three return. Wed, 13 Apr 2011 16:55:13 +0000 Michigan Radio Newsroom 2061 at http://michiganradio.org Michigan sees decline in prisoner return rate Muskegon County Jail’s ‘post-card-only’ policy attracting protests http://michiganradio.org/post/muskegon-county-jail%E2%80%99s-%E2%80%98post-card-only%E2%80%99-policy-attracting-protests <p>In February, new rules were adopted that prohibit inmates from sending or receiving letters. Inmates can receive or send postcards only. Legal documents are exempt.</p><p>Muskegon County Sheriff Dean Roesler cites security reasons for changing the policy earlier this year. He says people send drugs, razor blades, and other contraband inside letters to inmates.</p><blockquote><p>&ldquo;I can&rsquo;t give you a specific number of times that we&rsquo;ve dealt with that, but my perspective as sheriff you know in a facility that needs to be as secure as possible, one is too many.&rdquo;</p></blockquote><p>About 20 protestors gathered in front of the Muskegon Count Jail today to rally against the policy.</p><p>Faith Groesback was among them.</p><blockquote><p>&ldquo;What do you have to do to ensure that contraband doesn&rsquo;t come in through a letter? You run it through a metal detector, you have a dog sniff it, you have somebody open it and shake it; it&rsquo;s not that complicated.&rdquo;</p></blockquote><p>She argues the policy violates inmates and their loved ones&rsquo; privacy and freedom of speech.</p><blockquote><p>&ldquo;If you&rsquo;ve ever been, had a relationship of any kind with somebody in that situation, you&rsquo;d understand how vitally important those letters are and what they mean to them.&rdquo;</p></blockquote><p>Mal Williams, also of Muskegon, found out about the policy from a friend of his that&rsquo;s inside the jail just yards away from him.</p><blockquote><p>&ldquo;Just think what we would&rsquo;ve lost if we had not let Dr. King write letter when he was in Birmingham Jail. There&rsquo;s a lot of issues involved here. Its starts off with a letter and then the next thing you know you&rsquo;re losing something else.&rdquo;</p></blockquote><p>Sheriff Roesler says inmates&rsquo; speech is not stifled because they can send as many postcards as they want.</p><blockquote><p>&ldquo;Courts have recognized that certain rights are restricted when you come into jail or prison and in the interest of the security of the institution, sometimes we do have to restrict those rights.&rdquo;</p></blockquote><p>About a half a dozen other county jails in Michigan have similar post-card-only policies.</p><p>A county in Colorado <a href="http://www.aclu.org/prisoners-rights/jail-drops-postcard-only-policy-following-aclu-lawsuit">reversed its post-card-only policy</a> late last year after the ACLU threatened legal action.</p><p>The ACLU of Michigan says they have been looking into &#39;post-card-only&#39; policies in the state. Tue, 05 Apr 2011 23:17:03 +0000 Lindsey Smith 1927 at http://michiganradio.org Muskegon County Jail’s ‘post-card-only’ policy attracting protests Michigan's prisons keep prisoners longer, cost more http://michiganradio.org/post/michigans-prisons-keep-prisoners-longer-cost-more <div class="storyDateline">While controversy over budget cuts lingers, new statistics show that Michigan&#39;s prison system may have some system-wide problems that actually increase cost.</div><div class="storyDateline">The <a href="http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/chi-ap-mi-brokenbudgets-pri,0,972938.story">Chicago Tribune/A.P.</a> reports:</div><blockquote><p><a class="taxInlineTagLink" href="http://www.chicagotribune.com/topic/us/michigan-PLGEO100102800000000.topic" id="PLGEO100102800000000" title="Michigan">Michigan</a> often keeps inmates long after other states would have released them for similar crimes, driving up prison costs by millions of dollars a year and eating up a quarter of the state&#39;s general fund.<br /><br />Both former Democratic Gov. <a class="taxInlineTagLink" href="http://www.chicagotribune.com/topic/politics/government/jennifer-granholm-PEPLT00007677.topic" id="PEPLT00007677" title="Jennifer Granholm">Jennifer Granholm</a> and current Republican Gov. <a class="taxInlineTagLink" href="http://www.chicagotribune.com/topic/politics/government/rick-snyder-PEPLT00007678.topic" id="PEPLT00007678" title="Rick Snyder">Rick Snyder</a> have encouraged the parole board to be more lenient when it comes to releasing prisoners who have served their minimum sentences. Yet a bill that would require that inmates serve 100 percent of their minimum sentence but no more than 120 percent failed to make it through the Legislature during the last two-year session.<br /><br />That has left 8,000 inmates still behind bars who have served more than their minimum sentences, a practice that&#39;s costing Michigan taxpayers around $280 million annually.<br /><br />It&#39;s likely to take years for the parole board to consider those 8,000 cases, which make up nearly a fifth of the prison population. On April 15, the parole board will shrink from 15 members to 10 under a Snyder executive order estimated to save around $500,000 a year in pay and benefits.</p><p> Fri, 01 Apr 2011 20:48:06 +0000 Michigan Radio Newsroom 1887 at http://michiganradio.org Michigan's prisons keep prisoners longer, cost more Helping prisoners adjust to life after release http://michiganradio.org/post/helping-prisoners-adjust-life-after-release <p>This Monday, Morning Edition Host Christina Shockley sits down with Mary King as part of our year-long “What’s Working” series. King is the community coordinator in Washtenaw County for the Michigan Prisoner Re-Entry Initiative (MPRI). The MPRI aims to increase public safety and reduce crime and recidivism by providing supportive services to citizens recently released from prison. The services provided include assistance with locating housing, employment, substance abuse treatment, transportation, and mental health treatment.</p><p>In addition to helping released felons get back on their feet in their communities, Ms. King says the MPRI can produce financial savings for the state by reducing the number of prisons in Michigan. While there are many factors that contribute to fluctuations in the prison population, King says recently there has been a substantial decline in the recidivism rate in Michigan, thanks in part to the MPRI.</p><blockquote><p>“What we do know is that returns to prison for people who have been released – which used to be about one for every two people that were released from prison were back within two years – that number has gone down to one in three.”</p></blockquote><p>Before the MPRI came about, King says different agencies worked in local communities throughout the state to connect returning citizens with services they needed. Unfortunately, these localized efforts often lacked both communication with one another and an understanding of what services were most effective to reduce recidivism, says King. Mon, 14 Mar 2011 16:44:00 +0000 Michigan Radio Newsroom & What's Working 1639 at http://michiganradio.org Helping prisoners adjust to life after release In this morning's news... http://michiganradio.org/post/mornings-news-69 <p><strong>Report: "Fireworks" over part of Snyder's Budget Plan</strong></p><p>Chris Christoff, the Lansing Bureau Chief for the <a href="http://www.freep.com/article/20110216/NEWS06/102160436/1001/news">Detroit Free Press</a>, says Governor Snyder plans to "eliminate Michigan's generous<span style="text-decoration: underline;"> </span><a class="itxtrst itxtrsta itxthook" href="http://www.freep.com/article/20110216/NEWS06/102160436/1001/news#" id="itxthook0" rel="nofollow" style="font-weight: normal; font-size: 100%; text-decoration: none; border-bottom: 1px solid black; padding-bottom: 0px; color: black; background-color: transparent;"><nobr class="itxtrst itxtrstnobr itxthooknobr" id="itxthook0w2nobr" style="color: black;"></nobr></a>income tax exemptions for retiree pensions and IRA withdrawals as part of his budget plan" to be released tomorrow. Christoff wrote "a source familiar with the plan" says doing away with the tax exemption could generate more than $1 billion in revenue. From the Free Press:</p><blockquote><p>Many expect Gov. Rick Snyder to set off political fireworks Thursday when he unveils a budget and tax revision plan he says will be simple, fair and efficient...Perhaps nothing will boom louder than a plan to tax pensions and other retirement income the same as all other income -- at 4.35%.</p></blockquote><p>A Snyder spokesperson would not comment on the "speculation." Doug Pratt, a spokesman for the Michigan Education Association, told the Freep that Snyder will "will hear from a lot of retired employees in this state that are not going to be happy with that one." And an aide to republican State Senator Jack Brandenburg said the plan is "a nonstarter."</p><p>The <a href="http://www.mlive.com/politics/index.ssf/2011/02/gov_rick_snyder_may_call_for_l.html">Associated Press</a> writes that Michigan's benefits for retirees are one of the most generous in the country:</p><blockquote><p>The Washington-based Center for Budget and Policy Priorities says Michigan's benefits are twice as generous as those of second-place Kentucky. A retired couple in Michigan can have more than $100,000 of income without having to pay any state income tax...</p><p>Political pressure in the past has made it hard to reduce senior tax breaks to help the state's bottom line, even as Michigan steadily loses more to the tax breaks as the number of older taxpayers grows.</p></blockquote><p>Governor Snyder will release his budget plan tomorrow.</p><p><strong>Prison staff fear privatization is coming</strong></p><p>Almost everything in the state is on the chopping block. There has been talk of privatizing parts of the prison system as a way to save money. The <a href="http://www.mlive.com/news/index.ssf/2011/02/prison_support_staff_worry_job.html">Associated Press</a> says the Governor's budget plan will look at cutting around 10 to 20% out of the state's corrections budget.</p><p>State workers in prisons fear that will mean privitization. The Associated Press spoke with United Auto Workers Local 6000 spokesman Ray Holman:</p><blockquote><p>The Prison support staff fear the governor may outsource their jobs to private companies to save money.</p><p>"If you're cutting $400 million ... you're going to have to go after something," said Holman, whose union represents tens of thousands of state workers, including prison support staff. "We stand to take a substantial hit."<span _fck_bookmark="1" style="display: none;">&nbsp;</span></p></blockquote><p><strong>Former GM exec may return as advisor</strong></p><p>The <a href="http://www.detnews.com/article/20110216/AUTO01/102160353/Lutz-may-return-to-GM-as-adviser">Detroit News</a> says former GM executive Bob Lutz may return to the company as an advisor. From the Detroit News:</p><blockquote><p>General Motors Co. has been in talks with former product chief Robert Lutz about bringing him back as a paid consultant, The Detroit News has learned.</p><p>The details were unclear Tuesday, but the 79-year-old Lutz continues to have a close relationship with GM, and the two have been in discussions about formalizing an advisory role, according to sources familiar with the discussions.</p></blockquote><p>Lutz was known as a plain speaking executive at GM who was skeptical of the commercial appeal of electric cars and hybrids. As the <a href="http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2010/mar/04/bob-lutz-general-motors-vice-chairman-retires">Guardian</a> reported when he retired in 2010, Lutz once described global warming "as a total crock of shit."</p><p>The Guardian writes that Lutz "<em>predicted the internal combustion engine would reign supreme for at least a further decade, and that it would be "years and years" before alternatives make up even a tenth of the market.</em>" Wed, 16 Feb 2011 12:08:10 +0000 Mark Brush 1304 at http://michiganradio.org Michigan AG: Prison releases should not be part of corrections cuts http://michiganradio.org/post/michigan-ag-prison-releases-should-not-be-part-corrections-cuts <p>Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette says the state should save money in the corrections budget by cutting the costs of incarceration - not by closing more prisons or releasing more inmates.</p><p>Schuette says he hopes that's the strategy Governor Rick Snyder will display when he unveils his budget proposal on Thursday.</p><p>Schuette says he advised the governor to focus on reducing the cost-per-inmate by bidding out more prison services:</p> Tue, 15 Feb 2011 21:12:53 +0000 Rick Pluta 1302 at http://michiganradio.org Michigan AG: Prison releases should not be part of corrections cuts Snyder signs executive order to reduce state parole board http://michiganradio.org/post/snyder-signs-executive-order-reduce-state-parole-board <p>Governor <a href="http://www.michigan.gov/snyder">Rick Snyder</a> has signed an <a href="http://www.michigan.gov/documents/snyder/EO-03-2011_344955_7.pdf">executive order to reduce the size of the state parole board</a> by a third.</p><p>It’s not clear how this shakeup will affect the policy set by Governor Jennifer Granholm to parole more inmates as a way to control corrections costs.</p><p>Governor Snyder is reducing the parole board from 15 to 10 members, and placing it under direct control of the Corrections director. He also eliminated the board that advices the governor on clemency decisions.</p><p>His administration say the move will streamline government and save the state about half-a-million dollars.</p><p>The parole board members will have to reapply for their jobs. But Snyder says the parole board was written into state law to be a 10-member board with the Department of Corrections, and so it will return to its original form. Tue, 08 Feb 2011 11:47:14 +0000 Laura Weber 1196 at http://michiganradio.org Snyder signs executive order to reduce state parole board