Showing posts from September, 2023

On things I’m not reading, and why that makes me cross!

  I’m reading a lot about the UAW (United Auto Workers union) these days. Auto workers are on strike, hoping to get better wages and working conditions from the big three automakers. The UAW boasts about 12,700 members.   I’m not reading a lot about another union : MCO (Michigan Corrections Organization). The MCO Service Employees International Union, which represents about 6,000 Corrections Officers and other MDOC employees, is facing a major issue.   I’m reading a lot about Michigan’s Governor and Democratic-controlled senate and house, and their strong efforts to improve living conditions in Pure Michigan, and reverse the trend of population decline.   I’m not reading or hearing about the MDOC staff crisis in Michigan prisons.   An item on the Detroit News editorial page more than intrigued me…it infuriated me. It was written by Timothy Fleury, a correctional officer at the Alger CF located in Munising. He obviously hoped to get someone’s attention. A huge employee shortag

I wish you could hear the stories!

There’s no simple answer for some questions.   “Just tell me what you guys do over there at HUMANITY FOR PRISONERS.”   When we give our stock reply, helping prisoners one-on-one with their everyday needs and problems, more questions persist.   “When I give money to an agency that feeds hungry people, they can give me exact statistics…how many people they feed, in what countries, their ages, etc. If we’re going to award grants to HFP, we need stats!” Gulp.   Last week I was one of four persons in a panel discussion. I was on the panel because I started this program 22 years ago. The others were there because all had been helped by HFP. I’ll briefly share a story about each of them.   Heather was in another state when she contacted HFP. She was engaged to a prisoner in Michigan, and the two of them hoped to get married. Because of complications involving her residence in another state and his residency in a prison, a contrary county clerk decided she would have no part in issui

Are we willing to march?

I was so busy writing about HFP’s August 29 birthday that I never got around to discussing the August 28 Freedom March of 1963. That was the year that 200,000 demonstrators filled the streets of Washington DC, demanding improvements in jobs and freedom.   I have long contended that democracy not only demands orderly elections, but allows for peaceful protest on the streets.   Just a few days ago Governor Whitmer presented her “What’s Next” address. She noted many fine accomplishments in our state, and she outlined many more worthy goals. Notably missing, however, was an in-depth discussion of prisons and incarceration. Why? Because these topics do not impress voters.   The only comment I found in the entire speech was a vague reference to the budget just passed, saying that there was money to “upgrade correctional facilities.” That’s it? That’s all there is to talk about?   Meanwhile, our office continues to receive a barrage of complaints from residents of Michigan prisons and