michigan department of corrections http://michiganradio.org en Troubled Michigan prison food service company keeps contract, but pays a big fine http://michiganradio.org/post/troubled-michigan-prison-food-service-company-keeps-contract-pays-big-fine <p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">The company behind Michigan’s troubled prison food service is keeping its contract.&nbsp; But it’s also paying a price.</span></p><p></p><p><a href="http://www.mlive.com/lansing-news/index.ssf/2014/08/aramark_fine_snyder.html">Aramark’s problems</a> have ranged from maggots in the food to food service employees having sexual relations with inmates.&nbsp;</p><p>Gov. Rick Snyder today announced Aramark will pay a $200,000 fine. The governor says there will also be changes to the food service contract.&nbsp; &nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> Fri, 08 Aug 2014 20:00:00 +0000 Steve Carmody 18676 at http://michiganradio.org Troubled Michigan prison food service company keeps contract, but pays a big fine AG prison report cites human, technology errors as prime cause of inmate escape http://michiganradio.org/post/ag-prison-report-cites-human-technology-errors-prime-cause-inmate-escape <p>A <a href="http://www.michigan.gov/documents/ag/Elliot_Report_web_463424_7.pdf">report by the Michigan Attorney General's office</a> has found both human and technology failures played a part in the prison escape of a convicted murderer.</p><p></p><p>Michael Elliot slipped out of the Ionia Correctional Facility last February 2 by crawling under fences during a heavy snowfall. He wore white clothes to blend into the snow. He was captured about 24 hours later in Indiana.</p><p></p> Tue, 22 Jul 2014 02:07:43 +0000 Rick Pluta 18459 at http://michiganradio.org AG prison report cites human, technology errors as prime cause of inmate escape A closer look at Aramark and the troubles with privatization in prisons http://michiganradio.org/post/closer-look-aramark-and-troubles-privatization-prisons <p></p><p></p><p>Sex with inmates - maggots in the food - smuggling drugs to inmates - undercooked or spoiled food.</p><p>When is enough "enough" with Aramark, the food service company hired seven months ago to feed inmates in Michigan prisons?</p><p>The privatization was supposed to save the state more than $12 million a year. But it's been a Pandora's box of troubles for state prison officials ever since Aramark took over last December.</p><p>Paul Egan of the Detroit Free Press Lansing Bureau joined us today.&nbsp;<span style="font-family: 'Times New Roman'; font-size: 16px; white-space: pre-wrap; line-height: 1.5; background-color: transparent;">He has reported on all the problems associated with the Aramark contract. Egan </span><span style="line-height: 1.5;">said that so far, things are not getting any better.</span></p><p></p><p> Thu, 17 Jul 2014 21:53:04 +0000 Stateside Staff 18417 at http://michiganradio.org A closer look at Aramark and the troubles with privatization in prisons The Cell Block 7 Prison Museum catalogs the prison's history http://michiganradio.org/post/cell-block-7-prison-museum-catalogs-prisons-history <p></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">It's been known for decades as the world's largest walled prison - the State Prison of Southern Michigan in Jackson.</span></p><p>Now some of the very colorful stories from that prison and from Jackson are told in the new Cell Block 7 Prison Museum. It's a joint venture of the Ella Sharp Museum and the Michigan Department of Corrections.</p><p>The museum is renting part of cell block seven, which still houses inmates.</p><p><a href="http://www.mlive.com/news/jackson/index.ssf/2014/06/10_stories_to_get_you_ready_fo.html">MLive’s Leanne Smith</a> said the museum covers the history of the prison, the inmates, wardens, and guards since 1838.</p><p>“It is an actual cell block,” Smith said. “You walk in and there is no doubt as to where you are.”</p><p>*<em>Listen to full interview above.&nbsp;</em></p><p> Tue, 08 Jul 2014 20:19:45 +0000 Stateside Staff 18296 at http://michiganradio.org The Cell Block 7 Prison Museum catalogs the prison's history Michigan man with odd sentence stuck with life in prison http://michiganradio.org/post/michigan-man-odd-sentence-stuck-life-prison <p>JACKSON, Mich. (AP) - <a href="http://mdocweb.state.mi.us/OTIS2/otis2profile.aspx?mdocNumber=204922">Leon Echols</a> has spent his adult years in Michigan prisons for killing a man when he was 18. He's not eligible for parole until he's in his 80s, but he's been trying to convince authorities that his punishment doesn't fit the crime. &nbsp;</p><p></p> Sat, 05 Jul 2014 15:11:00 +0000 The Associated Press 18268 at http://michiganradio.org Michigan man with odd sentence stuck with life in prison Aramark contract "up in the air" after more maggots found in prison food http://michiganradio.org/post/aramark-contract-air-after-more-maggots-found-prison-food <p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">Aramark Correctional Services, the private company that provides food to Michigan prisons, is in trouble again.</span></p><p>Inmates at the Charles Egeler Reception &amp; Guidance Center in Jackson&nbsp;<a href="http://www.freep.com/article/20140702/NEWS06/307020165/prison-food-maggots-aramark">found maggots while peeling potatoes Tuesday morning</a>.</p><p>Michigan Department of Corrections spokesman Russ Marlan says the warden was notified, and quickly moved to dispose of all the potatoes.</p> Thu, 03 Jul 2014 10:00:00 +0000 Sarah Cwiek 18252 at http://michiganradio.org Aramark contract "up in the air" after more maggots found in prison food Michigan puts prison food service company prisoners on notice: Get it together ... or else http://michiganradio.org/post/michigan-puts-prison-food-service-company-prisoners-notice-get-it-together-or-else <p>Michigan’s Department of Corrections says problems with Aramark, the company that provides inmates their meals, have the potential to compromise safety and security in the state's prisons.</p><p>Food service was privatized at Michigan’s 31 prisons in December, saving roughly $16 million a year.</p><p>“Literally from a Saturday to a Sunday it transitioned to 360 contractor workers who, in many cases, had never been inside a correctional facility,” Michigan Department of Corrections spokesman Russ Marlan said. “So we expected some problems, we expected some issues.”</p> Wed, 25 Jun 2014 09:56:00 +0000 Lindsey Smith 18137 at http://michiganradio.org Michigan puts prison food service company prisoners on notice: Get it together ... or else New program to help families of Michigan prisoners http://michiganradio.org/post/new-program-help-families-michigan-prisoners <p>Helping prison officials and the families of prisoners communicate better is the goal of a pilot project at three Michigan prisons. So is providing support to the families of prisoners.</p><p>The privately funded Family Participation Program will partner with the Michigan Department of Corrections.</p><p>MDOC spokesperson Russ Marlan&nbsp;says it's hard for family members to negotiate the unfamiliar world of prisons.&nbsp;</p><p>He said having an independent liaison for each prison will make it easier for family members to get their questions answered.</p> Tue, 13 May 2014 21:05:33 +0000 Michigan Radio Newsroom 17588 at http://michiganradio.org New program to help families of Michigan prisoners 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