michigan corrections organization

Politics & Government
7:05 pm
Thu March 6, 2014

Corrections report blames convicted killer's escape largely on motion sensor turned off by staffers

Michael Elliot told the Detroit Free Press escaping from the Ionia Correctional Facility was "easy."
Michigan Department of Corrections

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.

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.

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Crime
1:09 pm
Wed March 14, 2012

Prison guards protest plans to end regular perimeter patrols at Michigan prisons

Members of the Michigan Corrections Organization picket in front of the headquarters of the Department of Corrections.
Steve Carmody Michigan Radio

State prison guards are upset over plans to end regular perimeter patrols outside 27 of Michigan’s 31 state prisons.    Guards protested outside the Corrections Department’s Lansing headquarters today. 

 The Corrections Department says changing to random patrols, and adding cameras and motion sensors will save the state $13 million. 

Mel Grieshaber is the head of the Michigan Corrections Organization, the prison guards union.   He says the decision to end perimeter patrols is just part of a pattern.

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Crime
8:16 pm
Thu December 1, 2011

Tasers may soon end up in Michigan prisons

The state corrections department plans to test the use of tasers in four state prisons.   

The pilot program is intended to see if the electro-shock devices can be effective when dealing with unruly and uncooperative prison inmates. 

Andy Potter is the vice president of the state prison guards union. He says the  union has wanted to arm guards with tasers for years.  

Potter says "being able to utilize them when an inmate is being disruptive just makes sense.”     

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.  

Tasers are used by many law enforcement agencies, but their use has been criticized by groups who point to incidents of abuse and even death.

State Budget
11:16 am
Fri February 11, 2011

Budget countdown: Corrections

under the state capitol dome
(photo by Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio)

Next week, Governor Rick Snyder will deliver a budget plan that his own Lt. Governor has described as an ‘atomic bomb’ of spending cuts. Michigan’s Corrections Department is expected to be a prime target. 

Michigan is facing a state budget deficit next year estimated at $1.8 billion. 

Michigan spends nearly $2 billion a year housing more than 44,000  inmates. The number of inmates has declined by more than 7,000 during the past five years.  And the number of prison employees has shrunk by nearly 4 thousand in the past decade.  

Still, conservative groups say more savings can be wrung out of the Corrections Department with privatization.

Mel Greishaber is with the prison guards union.  He warns privatizing some prison jobs might save money, but it will increase security problems.  

“Often...civilians who come in and work are not as sensitive to the safety issues and security issues that they need to be.”  

Greishaber is also worried about the level of experience state lawmakers have with Michigan's prison system.  A large percentage of state lawmakers are new to the job.   Greishaber notes that few members of the largely first term legislature have ever even visited a state prison.

 “Everyone comes in with preconceived notions.  They’ve watched movies which almost always are not the real life situation."