Showing posts from September, 2021

There are times when you gotta listen!

I dislike talking about myself. Even worse than that is the experience of visiting with someone who cannot stop talking about himself.   BUT, if a personal experience can help someone else in important decision-making, perhaps it’s time to share.   My first career was that of a radio broadcaster. I had my first radio program at age 12, and it was love at first sight. The word "radio" is still magical to me.   After 29 years, I left the radio business in 1983 and stepped right into a position selling church organs. As an active church musician, it was a natural for me and I loved the work.   Nevertheless, there remained that nagging desire to get back to my first love: radio. In the year 2000 I made serious work of it, and found a radio station that I could purchase. All of the details were coming together. I would finally be right back where I belonged!   Wrong.   Several years earlier I had met a Michigan prisoner named Maurice Carter, serving time for a crime h

There’s never a cop around when you want one!

I don’t know how many times I’ve said that after some rude bully of a driver cuts in front of a string of patient motorists waiting in line. I always wonder what kind of behavior these people exhibit in other parts of their lives.   Well, the same kind of thing happens in prison. Obviously, it’s not cars in a traffic jam. It involves inmates waiting in line for their food.   Our office received this message from a friend who, for obvious reasons, must remain unidentified:   While prisoners from my unit were still on the chow line, an officer called another unit, so another 200+ people joined the line. Immediately 75-100 of them cut the line to go ahead of all the guys who were already waiting.   The officers created this situation, then stood there and watched the guys cut in line. But if one person had tried to do the right thing and engage one of those line-cutters to get them to stop, the officers would have taken him to the hole for causing a disturbance. This happens not j

Oscar Wilde: It is not the prisoners who need reformation, it is the prisons!

Activists and non-profits play an important role in monitoring our prison systems. Take the State of Georgia, for example. The feds are poking their noses into Georgia’s notorious prison system, thanks to a lot of noise-making.   Prisoner advocacy agencies have stirred up state lawmakers, as well as prisoner families and loved ones, and as a result the U.S Department of Justice has launched an investigation. Newspaper accounts refer to deadly conditions for prisoners, as well as alleged unconstitutional practices by prison guards.   The Marshall Project this week discussed the DOJ’s probe into violence and conditions inside Georgia prisons.   It's interesting. Some of the complaints about Georgia prison problems don’t seem all that different than those heard in Michigan: squalid living conditions, COVID issues, suicides, homicides, staff shortages, guards working long hours, etc.   Unless you’ve actually served time in a corrections facility, you have no concept of that env

COVID in prison? Time to get serious!

Are state prisons an outbreak hazard?  That was the front-page headline in MLive newspapers this week. The answer is obvious, and it looks to me that there’s enough blame to go around...even among the prisoners. Here’s the deal, and thanks to MLive for bringing it to our attention. We all know that, because of confinement, there’s a high COVID risk in the prison environment. BUT, the Michigan Department of Corrections has shown no interest in a vaccination mandate for prison employees. I suspect partly because they don’t want to tangle with their union. That’s really no surprise, because the State of Michigan hasn’t mandated coronavirus vaccines for the rest of state employees, either. All of this makes me so angry! True, COVID is the enemy, and it’s sending people to the hospital and/or to the mortuary every day. But the REAL KILLER is and has been misinformation and disinformation, a shameful epidemic initiated by some of our nations’ leaders who obviously place politics ahead of mor

Some protests are misguided, methinks

  Something’s screwed up here!   A year ago people with guns stormed our state capitol to protest a stay-at-home order to help keep people safe from a raging virus.   Last month, a storming of the capitol again, this time in opposition to vaccine mandates...again dealing with the same virus.   Lately, angry people have been protesting at local county courthouses. Reflecting on our 20 years of existence battling to improve conditions for Michigan prisoners, I remembered a favorite Bible verse that I put up in our office in the early years.   Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute. Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and needy. Proverbs 31:8-9   In Brooks CF, a prisoner was killed the other day. Some say it was a dispute over homemade hootch, but the general consensus is that gang bangers were involved. Nobody’s protesting .   We published a blog recently about the terrible dental care in Michig