All writing is a form of prayer - John Keats

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Questions for Michigan candidates

Are you getting sick of the campaign ads?

Tired about hearing all the dirt against the opponent, who’s getting endorsed by whom, who’s the most attached to former office holders, who's really a conservative and who's a fake, who’s to blame for bad water in Flint, why marijuana should not be legal but carrying guns into school should be, and why it’s time to “fix the damn roads?” It continues ad nauseum, and it’s only going to get worse.

The Michigan primary is approaching, yet there’s one item on the budget that seems to get no attention: corrections.

Wanna know just how much is being spent to run our state prison system? $5+ million per day! We think that qualifies this topic for some discussion.

Oh, if you push the candidates hard enough, you may hear praise for Michigan’s lowering recidivism rate, and our improved college and vocational programs for prisoners. To be fair, the department deserves these kudos.

But here are some of the things I’d like to hear about:

-What we’re going to do about adopting “presumptive parole,” because we have many prisoners eligible for parole, and deserving of parole, who are still in there at a cost of $36,000+ per person per year!
-What we’re going to do about those poor prisoners with long indeterminate sentences, such as 50-200 years, which prevent an inmate from even seeing the Parole Board for the first 50 years!
-What we’re going to do about a “good-time” bill that seems to be stuck in committee.
-Why our state approved a compensation fee for those who have been wrongly convicted, but then does everything in its power to avoid paying that fee.
-Why our state continues to drag its feet on re-sentencing juvenile lifers, despite the US Supreme Court decision.
-How we're going to improve medical care for our prisoners.
-What’s being done to improve the prison corrections officers situation, e.g. severe shortages, especially in the women’s prison; and lack of appropriate training, especially when caring for the mentally ill.

Granted, these are not the popular subjects. But, they involve 39,000 people in our state prison system (most of whom will be out some day), as well as their families and friends and loved ones. Believe me, these people could add many more items to our list.

These are among the important items for us, and if you hope to be a lawmaker in the State of Michigan, we’d like your views before we vote, please.

I’m Doug Tjapkes, and I approve this message.


Bob Bulten said...

Amen, Doug. And since I don’t watch TV, I know very little about who is running and what their positions are. Will you use this blog site to inform us “Ludites” of who deserves our vote on these issues? Thanks.

Cindy Anderson said...

Thank you , Doug--Great questions!

Unknown said...

Excellent questions and I have forwarded this to Senator Patrick Colbeck who is in the running for Governor. I believe he has worked on the committee for Justice Reform while in the Senate.