I'm wondering what it's going to take to bring about changes---real changes---in the Michigan prison system. I was hoping that something as simple as a change of state administrations would make the difference. So far, what we're seeing is very disappointing.
A few weeks ago a friend of mine was raped in his cell by his cell-mate, a convicted sex offender. Instead of owning up to the problem and doing something about it, staff members tried to get him to admit the act was consensual, promising a prison transfer if he cooperated. The offender was given a ticket and was found guilty. Big deal. That helps my friend a lot.
Last week a teenager in prison asked his mom to contact me about a fellow prisoner, a 25-year old mentally challenged inmate who doesn't know how to behave properly. But as a result, guards seem to think that brutal punishment will improve his mental status. The teenager claims that officers tried choking him and assaulting him to bring about proper behavior, and then wouldn't feed him for an entire day shift. No word that the corrective action helped.
A few days ago a beautiful Christian man in prison whom I trust implicitly begged me to get involved. A fellow prisoner, age 48, is in pain because of a disc problem (if you haven't had back pain, you have no idea how rotten this can be). The doctor, he says, discontinued the prisoner's medication. Worse than that is an undiagnosed problem that results in pain in the prisoner's abdomen and groin areas. He has complained of issues with his heart,too, but was not given an ekg or any other type of tests. I don't know how serious all of this is, but I know the story teller, and he's not making things up. Isn't this why we have doctors in prison?
I tell you all of this because one of the major concerns of HUMANITY FOR PRISONERS is appropriate medical care. We're the first to admit that prisoners are not entitled to exotic, cosmetic surgery. We'll also admit that prisoners can be a real pain, and without question give doctors headaches. But we don't approve of torture in this country, and that includes refusal to provide adequate medical care in prison.
We'll keep on picking up the legitimate battles of untreated prisoners with your continued help and support, but that's doing nothing about the bigger problem. If you live in Michigan and are a registered voter, you CAN do something about it. Shame on you if you don't.