michigan department of corrections http://michiganradio.org en Michigan inmates get remedy in parole ban case http://michiganradio.org/post/michigan-inmates-get-remedy-parole-ban-case <p>DETROIT (AP) - About 130 Michigan prison inmates will have an opportunity to seek parole in a case that ends an unusual state policy of treating them as mandatory lifers.<br /><br />The state won't appeal a 2013 court decision that struck down the policy and has agreed to clear the way for a parole process. Judge Deborah Servitto signed an order last week.<br /><br />It's an odd case. The inmates were sent to prison with life sentences for a variety of crimes but still had a chance at parole. Then they got in trouble for possessing a weapon or committing another offense behind bars. Sat, 15 Mar 2014 18:41:00 +0000 The Associated Press 16862 at http://michiganradio.org Michigan inmates get remedy in parole ban case Fewer than 1 in 3 Michigan parolees returning to prison http://michiganradio.org/post/fewer-1-3-michigan-parolees-returning-prison <p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">Michigan’s rate of people returning to prison continues its steady decline.</span></p><p>The recidivism rate is now at 29%. That’s an all-time low for the state. It’s a pretty good rate compared to other states, too.</p><p>“That’s really what every corrections department across the country wants to see,” Michigan Department of Corrections spokesman Russ Marlan said. “You know you’re doing an effective job of transitioning people from prison back to their communities.”</p><p>Marlan says the lower rate translates to safer communities.</p> Wed, 12 Mar 2014 20:39:18 +0000 Lindsey Smith 16831 at http://michiganradio.org Fewer than 1 in 3 Michigan parolees returning to prison Corrections report blames convicted killer's escape largely on motion sensor turned off by staffers http://michiganradio.org/post/corrections-report-blames-convicted-killers-escape-largely-motion-sensor-turned-staffers <p>The Michigan Department of Corrections has released a report on last month’s escape from a state prison in Ionia. The report puts much of the blame on two corrections employees.</p><p></p><p>Convicted killer Michael Elliot, dressed all in white to match the snow on the ground, slipped through the fences at the Ionia Correctional facility to freedom the night of February 2. He was captured in northern Indiana the next day, after carjacking a woman in Ionia.</p><p></p> Fri, 07 Mar 2014 00:05:07 +0000 Steve Carmody 16758 at http://michiganradio.org Corrections report blames convicted killer's escape largely on motion sensor turned off by staffers Killer describes escape from Michigan prison as `easy' http://michiganradio.org/post/killer-describes-escape-michigan-prison-easy <p>IONIA, Mich. (AP) - The convicted killer who escaped from a Michigan prison says it "was relatively simple."<br /><br />Michael Elliot was discovered missing Sunday during an inmate count at the Ionia Correctional Facility, 30 miles east of Grand Rapids. The 40-year-old was arrested Monday in northwestern Indiana, driving a stolen vehicle.<br /><br />The Detroit Free Press reports Elliot used his one phone call at the Indiana jail where he's being held on $1 million bond to discuss the escape with the newspaper.<br /> Sun, 09 Feb 2014 16:59:00 +0000 The Associated Press 16366 at http://michiganradio.org Killer describes escape from Michigan prison as `easy' 2 Michigan prison workers suspended after escape http://michiganradio.org/post/2-michigan-prison-workers-suspended-after-escape <p>IONIA, Mich. (AP) - Two employees have been suspended at a western Michigan prison where a convicted killer escaped for 24 hours.<br /><br />Corrections Department spokesman Russ Marlan says one is an officer and the other is a shift commander. He declined to provide their names or any other details but says the suspensions are related to the investigation at the Ionia Correctional Facility.<br /><br />Michael Elliot escaped last Sunday and left the state in a Jeep that belonged to a Belding woman. She got away later that night. Elliot was captured Monday in northwestern Indiana. Sat, 08 Feb 2014 15:23:00 +0000 The Associated Press 16360 at http://michiganradio.org 2 Michigan prison workers suspended after escape Listen to these stories from those who knew what it was like in Jackson state prison http://michiganradio.org/post/listen-these-stories-those-who-knew-what-it-was-jackson-state-prison <p></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">Jackson, Michigan was home to one of the largest prisons in the world – the Michigan State Prison, later renamed the&nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: sans-serif; font-size: 13px; line-height: 19.1875px;">State Prison of Southern Michigan</span><span style="line-height: 1.5;">.</span></p><p>We went on a tour of the old prison with <a href="https://www.historicprisontours.com/">Jackson Historic Prison Tours</a>. While there we met some former prisoners and prison staff, and decided to follow up with them afterwards.</p> Fri, 20 Dec 2013 16:10:06 +0000 Allison Downey & Zak Rosen 15779 at http://michiganradio.org Listen to these stories from those who knew what it was like in Jackson state prison Michigan's governor pushing ahead with privatized prison food http://michiganradio.org/post/michigans-governor-pushing-ahead-privatized-prison-food <p>LANSING, Mich. (AP) - Gov. Rick Snyder says he plans to push ahead with plans to privatize food service for the state's 45,000 prison inmates under a proposed $145 million, 3-year contract.<br><br>Snyder tells the Detroit Free Press that he'll consider objections from Republican state Sen. Tom Casperson of Escanaba and unionized prison employees and others but won't let them block the process.<br><br>The State Administrative Board plans to consider the contract Tuesday with Aramark Correctional Services of Philadelphia. The contract would eliminate 370 Corrections Department jobs.<br> Tue, 24 Sep 2013 00:23:34 +0000 The Associated Press 14555 at http://michiganradio.org Michigan's governor pushing ahead with privatized prison food Michigan prison system credits Tasers for guard attack drop http://michiganradio.org/post/michigan-prison-system-credits-tasers-guard-attack-drop <p>LANSING, Mich. (AP) - Michigan's prison system is crediting the introduction of Tasers for a drop in attacks on its employees.<br><br>The Michigan Department of Corrections issued the electronic stunning devices in five prisons in December 2011 and expanded the deployment system-wide last year.<br><br>The Lansing State Journal says a Michigan prison employee uses a Taser on a prisoner about twice a day. It says there have been 576 Taserings since Oct. 1, 2012.<br><br>The Corrections Department says prisoners attacked employees 579 times in 2012, down from 644 in 2011 and 688 in 2010. Sun, 25 Aug 2013 17:55:58 +0000 The Associated Press 14129 at http://michiganradio.org Michigan's tough sentencing guidelines may need to be reformed http://michiganradio.org/post/michigans-tough-sentencing-guidelines-may-need-be-reformed <p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">It was 1998 when Michigan's lawmakers voted to approve tougher "lock 'em up policies."</span></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">Some may argue whether that made Michigan any safer, but one thing cannot be argued: Michigan leads the nation in average time served by inmates: 4.3 years. That's 48% higher than the national average of 2.9 years. That's according to a 2012 national study by the Pew Charitable Trusts.</span></p><p>And these tough sentencing guidelines are exacting a cost from the state's collective "wallet." Michigan's corrections budget currently exceeds $2 billion.</p><p>The state sentencing guidelines have not been reviewed for 15 years.</p><p>In response, the Michigan Law Review Commission has launched a bipartisan review to figure out just where Michigan stands when compared to the rest of the nation, and where reform might be needed.</p><p> Wed, 14 Aug 2013 21:12:00 +0000 Stateside Staff 13982 at http://michiganradio.org Michigan's tough sentencing guidelines may need to be reformed Michigan prison sentences, longest in US, under review http://michiganradio.org/post/michigan-prison-sentences-longest-us-under-review <p>Prisoners in Michigan serve longer sentences than in any other state. <a href="http://www.michiganradio.org/post/overhauling-michigans-parole-system-could-save-taxpayers-millions">That's according to a recent Pew study</a>, which finds lengthy sentences have bloated the state's corrections budget. Michigan spends more than two billion dollars a year on prisons.</p> Tue, 13 Aug 2013 20:04:01 +0000 Michigan Radio Newsroom 13964 at http://michiganradio.org Michigan prison sentences, longest in US, under review Prisons adopt postsecondary education programs http://michiganradio.org/post/prisons-adopt-postsecondary-education-programs <p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">One of the biggest challenges we face as a state and as a nation is how do we keep paroled prisoners from becoming repeat offenders and winding up back behind bars?</span></p><p>Solid evidence points to postsecondary education as one of the major keys to helping former inmates build productive lives after parole.</p><p>After many years without any funding for prisoners to be able to access higher education, the Michigan Department of Corrections has gotten a one million dollar grant to launch postsecondary educational programs and vocational training to a small number of inmates who are near parole.</p><p> Mon, 03 Jun 2013 20:56:11 +0000 Stateside Staff 12764 at http://michiganradio.org Prisons adopt postsecondary education programs In this morning's news: possible cap on FOIA fees, Lansing's budget showdown, education for inmates http://michiganradio.org/post/mornings-news-possible-cap-foia-fees-lansings-budget-showdown-education-inmates <p><strong>Legislation in Michigan House could cap FOIA fees</strong></p><p>There is new legislation up for initial hearing this week in Lansing. It is a response to local governments and state agencies charging hefty fees for people to see government records.</p><p>"One of the bills would limit most charges for requests filed under the state’s Freedom of Information Act to no more than 10 cents a page. Another would create a Michigan Open Government Commission to hear challenges to government denials of information requests," Michigan Radio's Rick Pluta reports.</p><p><strong>Lansing City Council vs. Mayor Virg Bernero</strong></p><p>The Lansing city council will vote tonight on a budget for next year. Michigan Radio's Steve <span>Carmody</span> <a href="http://www.michiganradio.org/post/lansing-city-council-votes-fy2014-budget-tonight" target="_blank">reports</a> that "the vote will likely put the council at odds with Mayor <span>Virg</span> <span>Bernero</span>."&nbsp;</p><p>The mayor wants to add annual fees for city water and electricity customers. Conversely, the council wants to make several spending cuts including eliminating several new positions the mayor wants to add to the city's payroll. Mayor Virg Bernero will have until Thursday to veto parts of the city budget he doesn’t like. The Lansing city council has until early June to try to override the mayor’s expected vetoes.</p><p><strong>Higher education opportunities piloted in Michigan prisons</strong></p><p>"After years without funding for prisoners to access higher education, the Michigan Department of Corrections is immersed in several efforts to teach community college courses and vocational training in-house to a small number of inmates who are near parole. Michigan will join a pilot project that hopes to gather enough evidence to possibly resurrect publicly supported postsecondary education in prisons nationally," reports <a href="http://www.detroitnews.com/article/20130520/METRO/305200336/Michigan-aims-expand-education-inmates?odyssey=tab|topnews|text|FRONTPAGE">The Detroit News</a>.</p><p> Mon, 20 May 2013 11:52:30 +0000 Michigan Radio Newsroom 12637 at http://michiganradio.org In this morning's news: possible cap on FOIA fees, Lansing's budget showdown, education for inmates Muskegon prison reopens; set to employ 240 http://michiganradio.org/post/muskegon-prison-reopens-set-employ-240 <p>The Muskegon Correctional Facility has reopened and will employ 240 people.</p><p>That is freeing up space for inmates in other parts of the state.</p><p>Michigan began closing prisons in 2007 as part of budget cuts. The Muskegon Correctional Facility was shut down in 2009.</p><p>Now the 1,300 bed, medium-security facility is open again and the state has begun transferring inmates from other places—mostly from the Ryan Correction Facility in Detroit.</p><p>Russ Marlan is a Department of Corrections spokesman.</p> Mon, 08 Oct 2012 16:59:06 +0000 Rina Miller 9413 at http://michiganradio.org Muskegon prison reopens; set to employ 240 Prison guards protest plans to end regular perimeter patrols at Michigan prisons http://michiganradio.org/post/prison-guards-protest-plans-end-regular-perimeter-patrols-michigan-prisons <p>State prison guards are upset over plans to end regular perimeter patrols outside 27 of Michigan&rsquo;s 31 state prisons. &nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Guards protested outside the Corrections Department&rsquo;s Lansing headquarters today.&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;The Corrections Department says changing to random patrols, and adding cameras and motion sensors will save the state $13 million.&nbsp;</p><p>Mel Grieshaber&nbsp;is the head of the Michigan Corrections Organization, the prison guards union.&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;He&nbsp;says the decision to end perimeter patrols is just part of a pattern.</p> Wed, 14 Mar 2012 17:09:13 +0000 Steve Carmody 6635 at http://michiganradio.org Prison guards protest plans to end regular perimeter patrols at Michigan prisons Tasers may soon end up in Michigan prisons http://michiganradio.org/post/tasers-may-soon-end-michigan-prisons <p>The state corrections department plans to test the use of tasers in four state prisons.&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;</p><p>The pilot program is intended to see if the electro-shock devices can be effective when dealing with unruly and uncooperative prison inmates.&nbsp;</p><p>Andy Potter is the vice president of the&nbsp;state prison guards union. He says&nbsp;the&nbsp; union has wanted to arm guards with tasers for years.&nbsp;&nbsp;</p><p>Potter says &quot;being able to utilize them when an inmate is being disruptive just makes sense.&rdquo;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;</p><p>The American Civil Liberties Union is raising some concerns about the plan. The ACLU says the corrections department should implement clear guidelines for the use of tasers so that they are not misused.&nbsp;&nbsp;</p><p>Tasers are&nbsp;used by many law enforcement agencies, but their use has been&nbsp;criticized by groups who point to incidents of abuse and even death. Fri, 02 Dec 2011 01:16:56 +0000 Steve Carmody 5217 at http://michiganradio.org Tasers may soon end up in Michigan prisons State to close Mound prison http://michiganradio.org/post/state-close-mound-prison <p>State prison officials say Mound Correctional Facility in Detroit will close in January as part of a broader effort to cut costs by more than $60 million a year.</p><p>Mound will be the 15<sup>th</sup> correctional facility to close in about five years. The state&rsquo;s prison population is down about 8,300 inmates since March of 2007.</p><p>One&nbsp;of the reasons Mound was chosen for closure is because there are other facilities that are relatively close by, says Michigan Department of Corrections spokesman Russ Marlan:</p> Wed, 28 Sep 2011 19:24:20 +0000 Sarah Hulett 4350 at http://michiganradio.org Guard accused of smuggling drugs, tobacco into prison http://michiganradio.org/post/guard-accused-smuggling-drugs-tobacco-prison <p>A guard at the state prison in Newberry is being held in the Mackinaw City jail awaiting felony charges of trying to smuggle contraband to inmates. John Cordell is with the Michigan Department of Corrections.</p><p>&quot;It appears from the investigation that he was trying to introduce contraband &ndash; both heroin and contraband tobacco, which is illegal inside facilities &ndash; inside the correctional facility.&quot;</p><p>Cordell says the man faces at least three felony charges. He says the scheme was detected from monitoring phone traffic into the prison and information from a cell phone that was seized from a prisoner.</p><p>The guard was stopped and arrested in downtown Mackinaw City. Cordell says the contraband was in the corrections officer&rsquo;s car.</p><p>The guard has also been suspended without pay from his job at the prison in the eastern Upper Peninsula. Thu, 08 Sep 2011 21:13:57 +0000 Rick Pluta 4083 at http://michiganradio.org New Department of Corrections Chief named http://michiganradio.org/post/new-department-corrections-chief-named <p>Governor Rick Snyder has named Jackson County Sheriff Daniel Heyns as the new director of the Michigan Department of Corrections. He&#39;ll start his new duties on June 1st.</p><p>From the Governor&#39;s Press release:</p><blockquote><p><span style="font-size: 12pt; font-family: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;,&quot;serif&quot;;">Heyns earned a bachelor&rsquo;s degree in psychology from the University of Michigan in 1973 and a master&rsquo;s in criminal justice, with a correctional administration focus, from Michigan State University in 1977.&nbsp; Heyns obtained his State of Michigan Police Officer Certification in 1981, is a graduate of the National FBI Academy and has completed special weapons and tactics training... </span></p><p><span style="font-size: 12pt; font-family: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;,&quot;serif&quot;;">Heyns, of Jackson, has served as Jackson County sheriff since 2003.&nbsp; He is responsible for a $12.5 million budget, a 450-bed jail operation, 911 central dispatch center and multiple specialized units including marine patrol, detective bureau, K-9, narcotics, traffic, firearms, Special Response Team and school liaison.&nbsp; He previously served as Jackson County undersheriff and was a captain in the Jackson County Sheriff&rsquo;s Department.</span></p></blockquote><p>The Associated Press notes that Heyns was a vocal opponent of Governor Granholm&#39;s plan to release more nonviolent prisoners eligible for parole. Wed, 20 Apr 2011 15:16:08 +0000 Mark Brush 2145 at http://michiganradio.org State to close prison http://michiganradio.org/post/state-close-prison <p>The state Department of Corrections is <a href="http://mi.gov/corrections/0,1607,7-119-1441_26969-253199--,00.html">closing a state prison</a> in southern Michigan. The move will save the state millions of dollars. The <a href="http://www.michigan.gov/corrections/0,1607,7-119--5364--,00.html">Florence Crane correctional facility</a> in Coldwater costs about $27 million a year to operate.</p><p>The facility houses about a thousand mainly older inmates, many with serious health problems. Those inmates will be sent to other prisons around the state.&nbsp;</p><p>John Cordell is the state Corrections Department spokesman. He says the state will be careful when placing these inmates in other facilities.&nbsp;</p><blockquote><p>&ldquo;We don&rsquo;t want to place prisoners in a situation where&hellip;they have a pressing health care need, but the health care provider is a hundred miles away, every time &nbsp;we have to take them back and forth.&nbsp; It doesn&rsquo;t make any sense.&rdquo;&nbsp;&nbsp;</p></blockquote><p>The Coldwater prison will not be the only state prison closing this summer. The Muskegon Correctional facility is also scheduled to close in June. Cordell says the state doesn&rsquo;t need the two prisons anymore.&nbsp;</p><blockquote><p>&ldquo;We expect that by June first we&rsquo;ll have well over a thousand beds that are empty within the system. So we can identify this prison.&nbsp; Close it.&nbsp; Place those prisoners within the beds in the system and we&rsquo;ll still have some cushion.&rdquo;</p></blockquote><p>Michigan&rsquo;s prison inmate population has declined from a high of 51,000 in 2007&nbsp; to just under 44,000 today.&nbsp;&nbsp;</p><p>The <a href="http://www.thedailyreporter.com/news/x337038422/Florence-Crane-prison-in-Coldwater-targeted-for-June-closing">Daily Reporter </a>in Coldwater notes that Michigan&#39;s Corrections Department has been cutting back for some time:</p><blockquote><p>In 2009, to save more than $118 million, Gov. Jennifer Granholm closed three prisons and five camps. They were the Standish Maximum Correctional Facility, along with prisons in Muskegon and Kincheloe. In addition, the state closed camps in Shingleton, Painesdale, Iron River, Grayling and White Lake. The cuts impacted more than 1,000 state employees. Although there was much talk, there were no closures last year.<span style="display: none;"> </span> Fri, 25 Mar 2011 16:29:48 +0000 Steve Carmody 1791 at http://michiganradio.org State to close prison