Showing posts from January, 2016

Stories from Flint and Ypsilanti make me angry!

There’s a definite parallel between the residents of Flint and the residents of the Women’s Huron Valley Correctional Facility in Ypsilanti.  In a nutshell, here’s my view:  Both groups of people are getting crapped on, and the State of Michigan really doesn’t care!  I don’t see how you can reach any other conclusion. I’m watching report after report from Flint Michigan, where the population of 100,000---mostly poor and mostly black---have been drinking water poisoned with lead for who knows how long.  Turns out the state new about it, did nothing about it, provided clean water for state workers while they assured residents the dirty water was OK for them, until they couldn’t hide it anymore.  Now it’s a national emergency drawing international attention.  Tests this week said corrective efforts aren’t working, and lead content in the water is still at a dangerous level.  Not one furrow has been dug to replace a pipe yet.  But mind you, they're still being billed for water the

Little is much when God is in it

A staff member of a local church was asking about the work of HFP.  Then she asked about the results of our work.  I must confess, I struggle to come up with meaningful answers.  Some days what we do just doesn’t sound like very much. We like to boast about the big things. It makes us proud to say that, thanks to our many whistle-blower friends behind bars, we were able to bring the U.S. Department of Justice into Michigan’s prison for women to investigate numerous cases of cruelty and abuse of mentally ill inmates. We like to point out that we invited then Warden Heidi Washington to participate in an HFP-sponsored seminar on bringing in some type of hospice care for those inmates dying in our state prisons in 2014.  And then, when Ms. Washington was appointed Director of the MICHIGAN DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS in 2015, she implemented plans to bring in hospice care for the terminally ill.  We’re proud to sign our names to documents and projects seeking Parole Board ref

Anatomy of a prison obit

ADOLPH ALBERT CRISP III, 1950 – 2016 December 15, 2015---Message to HFP from the wife of an inmate: Hi Doug;   I am writing on behalf of someone my husband knows, who is desperately ill.  He has no one on the outside to help him.   Apparently masses have been recently seen on imaging of his liver, kidney and pancreas.  He is getting a biopsy today.   The pain is already so great that my husband had to help him walk.  Would you please investigate and be in touch with whomever needs to be contacted to make sure he gets comfort care at least? You know "they" won't even give an aspirin, and with an enlarged liver ibuprofen should be contraindicated I would think; not that any of that is worth a pinhead against liver and pancreatic cancer.   He would appreciate any efforts that bring him the least relief.  I doubt he has much longer - a few months at best.  I had a friend die of pancreatic cancer and it was a tortuous and cruel death, even on the outside.  The inmate&

If Jimmy is a friend, just imagine how Michigan treats its enemies!

My friend Jimmy is a Michigan prisoner.  Ironically, among prisoners, he’s probably one of the state’s best friends. In 1989 he cooperated with law enforcement officials in the investigation of a bribery with the Michigan Department of Corrections.  Charges were filed, and there were convictions on the state and federal levels, including corrections officials. Since that time he has continued to provide law enforcement with information leading to numerous arrests for offenses such as auto theft, stolen property, and a multi-million dollar phone fraud scheme with the MDOC.  The information that he has provided has also resulted in the recovery of substantial quantities of narcotics, the arrest of several Detroit area fugitives, and the resolution of a Detroit homicide. 10 years ago he played a key role in the arrest and conviction of a murderer. One would think that, with all of this wonderful cooperation with the good guys, the State of Michigan would do its best to ta

Flint and Huron Valley offer proof: Michigan just won't listen!

I wrote my first local news story for a radio station in 1954.  I continued to actively cover stories and write news copy here in western Michigan until 1983.  Since then, my writing has been of a freelance nature, but my heart and mind are still in the newsroom.  And I must say this:  Never in my lifetime have I seen a Michigan story as devastating as the ongoing problem in the City of Flint!  I find it utterly shameful, and I believe that it has the capability of bringing down our current Michigan government administrators at the top level, including our Governor.  Aside from the whole issue of whether Governor Snyder should have gotten into the field of taking over local management of cities and school systems, there’s one thing that is beyond debate:  A REFUSAL TO LISTEN. In a January 6 editorial, the Detroit News said the public, local politicians, academics and the news media had been reporting on the problem of unfit drinking water in Flint for months!  Said the News: 

A plumber just didn't like to see women treated this way!

It’s no secret that HUMANITY FOR PRISONERS has been going to bat for incarcerated women in Michigan for years.  There are approximately 2,300 women in prison, all housed on one campus.  In June, 2014, HFP’s file on alleged cruelty to mentally ill women became so full that we filed a complaint with the U.S. Department of Justice.   Last fall, complaints to our office from women regarding overcrowding issues reached such a crescendo that our October monthly newsletter headline shouted:  WOMEN STACKED LIKE CORDWOOD!  This week, we learned of a plumber who had worked at Huron Valley for the past four years who transferred out of there because he couldn’t take it anymore.  I caught up with him by telephone yesterday, and here’s his story. I’m a taxpayer.  This has to stop! “I saw the story in the Detroit Free Press where the Director said Huron Valley wasn’t overcrowded, and laughed like hell!”  So says Charley Johnson, of Taylor, Michigan, who until December 9 was working as a mai