Two separate cases that kept us busy in the HFP office last week underscored, once again, the callousness of the Michigan Department of Corrections.
In the first instance, the wife of a prisoner was trying to find her husband. She went to visit him, and was told that he was not there...he was being transported. She knows that he is seriously ill with a liver disease, so she feared the worst. But no one would tell her. For a couple days she could not find her husband!
MDOC policy clearly states that if someone is critically ill, the person closest to that prisoner must be notified right away. Not only that, but his wife should have been apprised of everything happening after that. When we questioned someone at the state level about that policy, we were informed that it is interpreted differently at different institutions. Hard to imagine how else it can be interpreted, but that's what happened. The man was being rushed to a hospital in an ambulance with liver disease/end stage. What's questionable about that?
Anyway, she finally found him. Last we heard she still had not received visiting information.
And then there was the story of Otto, as detailed in our last blog entry.
Otto was so critically ill that he should have been released to die at home with his loving wife, but the Parole Board was not about to let that happen.
And so he died in prison...but prisoners learned about it before his wife did! She was told that according to policy, the state has 48 hours to notify next of kin regarding a death.
Now she would like his belongings...they've all been packed up by the state. But she was told that the MDOC has 28 days before it must send home his stuff.
Your tax dollars and mine.