state prison inmate

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

It's been known for decades as the world's largest walled prison - the State Prison of Southern Michigan in Jackson.

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.

The museum is renting part of cell block seven, which still houses inmates.

MLive’s Leanne Smith said the museum covers the history of the prison, the inmates, wardens, and guards since 1838.

“It is an actual cell block,” Smith said. “You walk in and there is no doubt as to where you are.”

*Listen to full interview above. 

Derek Key / Flickr

There's a new effort underway to help the families of Michigan inmates cope with having someone they love in prison. 

It's a pilot program that centers on having someone serve as a liaison between prisoner's families and officials at three Michigan prisons. That someone brings hard-earned insight to what it's like to have a loved one behind bars. 

Lois DeMott's son was a prisoner, so she learned firsthand how difficult it can be to navigate the prison system. 

Now, she hopes to help other families with the new Family Participation Program. She joined us on Stateside. 

*Listen to the full interview above.

Kevin Rosseel / morguefile

There's no arguing the fact that more women are being put behind bars. 

The female prison population in this country rose 646% from 1980 to 2010, largely because of drug offenses. That adds up to 112,000 women in state and federal prisons. 

So what happens once these women are paroled?

Jennifer Cobbina is an assistant professor of Criminal Justice at Michigan State University. She's the lead author of a study on female parolees that was published in the journa Race and Justice. She joined us on Stateside.

*Listen to the full interview above. 

Michigan bills aim to help parolees land jobs

Jan 12, 2014
Flickr kenmayer

LANSING, Mich. (AP) - New legislation in Lansing is designed to help inmates find a job when they leave prison.

The bills would let Michigan certify felons' skills and character to help them during the job application process. The "certificate of employability" could go to parolees based on their criminal history, institutional behavioral record, and vocational and educational training.

Official portrait

Michigan’s Attorney General has decided to appeal a federal judge’s order that would require parole hearings for more than 300 juvenile offenders serving life sentences.

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled last year that sentencing juvenile offenders to automatic life without parole constituted “cruel and unusual” punishment. 

LANSING, Mich. (AP) - Michigan's prison system is crediting the introduction of Tasers for a drop in attacks on its employees.

The Michigan Department of Corrections issued the electronic stunning devices in five prisons in December 2011 and expanded the deployment system-wide last year.

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.

Frannie Shepherd-Bates is a Shakespeare geek. She is also executive artistic director of the Magenta Giraffe Theatre Company in Detroit.

Twice a week, Shepherd-Bates drives from metro Detroit to the Women’s Huron Valley Correctional Facility, which is about 10 miles south of Ann Arbor, to share her love of Shakespeare.

MARQUETTE, Mich. (AP) - A Michigan inmate who blamed prison officials for his bad teeth has another cavity to fill: a $353 bill for his failed lawsuit.

A judge has ordered Jerry Flanory to pay for transcript costs, copy fees and a nominal $20 for the state's cost of the one-day trial. The money will go to the state of Michigan.

Flanory claimed his teeth and gums suffered because he was cut off from toothpaste at a prison in the Upper Peninsula. The state denied the allegations and said the Flint man had only five teeth when he entered prison.

MARQUETTE, Mich. (AP) - An inmate who blames Michigan prison officials for gum disease is getting his day in court.

Jerry Flanory's lawsuit against three people is going to trial Monday in federal court in Marquette. He claims he lost a tooth in 2006 and suffered gum disease because he was denied toothpaste as a punishment for not attending prison classes.

The state says the doomed tooth was already loose and that Flanory had access to plenty of toothpaste.