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All writing is a form of prayer - John Keats

Saturday, June 6, 2020

My friends are being ignored. But, they’re used to it!


Once again my friends behind bars in Michigan are being ignored. And while they’re saying, “What else is new,” I’m saying this is unacceptable.

It’s no surprise that citizens behind bars aren’t being noticed these days.

In no way will I minimize the impact of the George Floyd death beneath the knee of a cop.

In no way will I say one unkind word toward tens of thousands of peaceful protesters who are involved in what may be the strongest statement for civil rights in our lifetime.

In no way will I take the spotlight off the multitude of first responders and medical personnel who are struggling to stay ahead of a raging pandemic in our nation.

In no way will I join those criticizing our Governor for her firm action to prevent the spread of the coronavirus in Michigan.

BUT, I’m pissed that with all of this going on, nothing extra is happening to reduce the population of Michigan’s prisons. We’re overcrowded, and the sting of the virus will be much less if we let out deserving people. Yes, the Parole Board is working hard to release eligible inmates. But so much more can and should be done!

Said Nolan Finley in the Detroit News:

Other states have moved more aggressively to thin their prison populations to slow the spread of the virus. Governors in California, Illinois, Ohio, Kentucky and elsewhere have used their commutation powers and ordered early releases of prisoners nearing the end of their sentences, Michigan has taken much smaller steps.

A team of U of M researchers found, for example, that inmates over age 55, even those who have been convicted of murder, present an extremely low risk of committing another crime. Among older homicide convicts who have been released, 99 percent will not repeat their offense. Their conclusion: “We’re keeping 99 people in prison who will never commit another violent crime to stop one who might.”

And that's just one segment. Many others, described in past columns, are worthy of consideration for release.

We’ve been hammering on this since the coronavirus scare began. Though faced with many major problems, our Governor is overdue in finally getting involved here. It’s past time for our state legislature to take a look at the plight of prisoners. And, I know it’s wishful thinking, but our media just might take a moment to peek behind the major headlines.

My friends behind bars in Michigan are being ignored!

They’re not complaining. I am.

They’re used to it.




1 comment:

Pat Hardy said...

It's a sad state of affairs. I have not heard of even one politician mention the need for true prison reform or anything related to it. Choke holds, the kind used on George Floyd, may be banned, but when will real prison reform be a priority. In our lifetime Doug??? Probably not, since we're both in our 80's.

Pat