From a friend of HFP:
I am the mother of a mentally ill teenager who is in prison. Now I find myself helping another woman, whose 15-year-old grandson, suffering from a significant mental illness, is also in the Michigan prison system! We have connected with several organizations, hoping to bring attention and change to the care and treatment of these minors with mental illness who were sentenced at very young ages to the Michigan Department of Corrections. Both of our boy’s cases are significant, and need attention.
This woman’s grandson resided in Calhoun County at the time of his sentence, and he now is still in prison. He has been in Lapeer at Thumb Correctional Facility and also at Huron Valley Men’s Facility in the Acute Stabilization Unit due to his significant mental illness, for a length of THREE MONTHS, yet, believe it or not, he was taken OFF his medications upon his entry to MDOC back in June of this year. He is not receiving an education, he was being verbally and physically abused while at Huron Valley Unit and my son begged for me to seek advocacy for Kyle. He was very concerned about his well-being and what he saw happening, particularly because he stated “Kyle has the mentality of a 6-7 year-old”, and saw that his treatment was deplorable. He was kept in a cell most of the time, not being escorted, and was eating all meals in his cell. His family was denied contact or information because he "had not signed a consent form", and he could not have visits as no one helped him fill out a visit form (which he did not have the ability to do on his own).
It is not coincidental that our boys are from the same county, or that we have experienced many of the same things, including significant violations found by the State of Michigan at the Calhoun County Juvenile Home.
I am asking for any and all legislators to start asking questions as to how we are going to better care for these minors who are mentally ill. If these youth were being treated at home as they are in this system, we, as parents, would be PROSECUTED AND SENT TO PRISON! How is it then that the counties and the prison system are getting away with this?
We will not let our children become another TIMOTHY SOUDERS, WHO DIED TWO YEARS AGO AT THE HANDS OF 35 MDOC EMPLOYEES WHO CHAINED HIM TO THE FLOOR, ABUSED HIM, GAVE HIM NO WATER, AND LET HIM DIE OVER FOUR DAYS. I BELIEVE THIS STILL OCCURS TODAY.
My questions to the legislature is this, three years ago when Gov. Granholm worked to close Baldwin Prison, and it was voted on by the legislature, did anyone truly think of the ramifications of placing these youth in with our adult prisoners?? Did anyone do their homework to see if MDOC had policies and directives in place for the youth within this system should they need more mental health care than once a month (what they can receive at Lapeer/Thumb Correctional Facility)??? Did anyone consider THAT many of these youth sentenced as adults have significant mental illness and by law they have the right to proper care and treatment for their mental illness, even if they are in prison???
One such boy COMMITTED SUICIDE in July at Lapeer. I am told he, too, had a known mental illness, was crying out for help, but was not responded to. Is this acceptable???
Simply put: This is an issue that NEEDS IMMEDIATE ATTENTION, and with MDOC’s stated financial woes and budget crises, NOW is the time to get these minors the help they rightfully deserve!
Thank you for listening to my story. Obviously just since August when I became aware of the rights, violations and inadequate care of my son, I am compelled to call attention to the above matters.
Passionately advocating for mentally ill incarcerated youth,
Currently in Branch County,
Previously in Calhoun County,
My son has been living in three counties in the cities of Lapeer, Ypsilanti, and Adrian, MI.