Perhaps the single issue over which I feel strongest disagreement with the Michigan Parole Board is this whole matter of compassionate release...freeing inmates who are seriously ill.
As I write this, I'm having a little private argument with the board in my mind. Here's why.
I've been talking to Otto's wife, who has been so kind and patient. But she's about had enough.
Otto has had triple bypass heart surgery while in prison. He has serious heart problems. Not only that, he has Hepatitis C, he can hardly breathe due to a serious case of COPD, he is diabetic and must be checked and treated several times a day. Besides that, he's 76 years of age. An old, seriously ill inmate, who could better be treated at home.
Now one would think that this man would be a perfect candidate for release from prison. He's a parolable lifer, so that's not a problem. Nope. The Parole Board just gave him a flop.
And if it costs $30,000 to care for an average prisoner, you can bet that the state is paying twice that to take care of this man.
Can the board members really believe that this ailing inmate is some kind of a threat to society? He runs out of breath walking from here to the front door.
Do board members think he has not yet paid his debt to society? He has been in prison nearly 40 years!
Now you have just a glimpse at one reason why our prisons are too full, and why we're paying more for corrections than we are higher education.
In my opinion, keeping Otto in prison is a crime.