U.S. prisons chief insists to Senate panel there’s been ‘visible change’ in the system

BY: - September 14, 2023

WASHINGTON — The head of the Federal Bureau of Prisons on Wednesday outlined to the Senate Judiciary Committee how she has sought improvements in the nation’s troubled prison system, and fielded questions from Republicans about transgender inmates. “Developing meaningful change throughout the agency is not something that happens in a moment,” Colette Peters, the director […]

Stifling prison heat used to be just a Southern problem. Not anymore.

BY: - August 23, 2023

While sweltering heat in prisons without air conditioning has long been an issue in the South, extreme heat waves worsened by climate change are expanding the problem into Northern states. In recent years, Michigan, Minnesota, South Dakota, Washington and Wisconsin have seen extreme heat in prisons. Many of these states lack the necessary infrastructure for […]

Charges filed in 2019 death of inmate in U.P. prison

BY: - June 21, 2023

Eight former and current employees of Alger Correctional Facility in the Upper Peninsula were charged Tuesday with felony counts related to the 2019 in-custody death of former inmate Jonathan Lancaster.  Following an investigation carried out by the Michigan State Police, Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel’s office charged four registered nurses who attended to Lancaster in […]

Nessel talks ‘constitutional counties,’ gun violence and juvenile justice reform

BY: - June 5, 2023

Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel told the Michigan Advance she is working to ensure gun violence laws can withstand legal scrutiny and are properly enforced. With Democrats taking control of the House and Senate and maintaining the governorship after the 2022 election, the Legislature has passed multiple Democratic priorities, including measures requiring background checks for […]

Bills would shave time off prison sentences for participating in educational, vocational programs

BY: - May 23, 2023

Some incarcerated individuals in Michigan could earn time off their sentence through participation in educational, vocational or otherwise rehabilitative programs under legislation that got a hearing in the House Criminal Justice Committee Tuesday. Lawmakers and crime victims spoke of “making good neighbors” out of people once they’ve served their sentences. Many of those who serve […]

‘A second chance at life’ or a ‘slap in the face to victims of crime’?

BY: - May 9, 2023

A legislative committee heard conflicting testimony on Tuesday on bills that would abolish juvenile life without parole (JLWOP) in Michigan.  It is unconstitutional to sentence juveniles to mandatory life without possibility of parole, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 2012. However, there are nearly 300 individuals in the state serving life sentences for crimes committed […]

New prison reform bills show ‘people are greater than their biggest mistake’

BY: - May 8, 2023

There is one word that surfaces time and again when prison reform advocates talk about the newly introduced Second Look Sentencing Act: hope. The package, made up of state Senate Bills 321–325, was introduced on Wednesday and would allow individuals who are incarcerated in Michigan to petition a judge for a reduction of their sentence […]

Senate, House tee up bills to end juvenile life without parole

BY: - March 7, 2023

Nearly 300 incarcerated Michiganders, currently serving out life sentences for crimes they committed while juveniles without the possibility of parole, may finally be closer to having their sentences reconsidered — more than a decade after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled those sentences unconstitutional. Democratic lawmakers in both chambers of the Michigan Legislature have previously been […]

‘We grow out of crime’: Advocates urge state to abolish juvenile life without parole

BY: - February 24, 2023

Updated, 2:02 p.m. 2/24/2023  In 2012, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that sentencing juveniles to mandatory life without the possibility of parole is unconstitutional.  But more than a decade later, there remain Michiganders who, years after entering prison, are continuing to serve out their life sentences for crimes they committed as children. That must change, […]

Advocacy groups ask FTC to expand Biden administration efforts to rein in junk fees

BY: - February 23, 2023

President Joe Biden devoted 19 sentences of his State of the Union speech to “junk fees,” which includes credit card late fees, service fees for concert tickets and airplane seating preferences that he said strain families’ budgets.  Biden did not mention the numerous and opaque fees faced by prisoners and their families every day. But […]

States criticized for spending federal relief funds on tax cuts, prisons

BY: - February 6, 2023

As states plan how they’ll spend the $25 billion remaining in federal COVID relief funds, some also are facing criticism and renewed scrutiny over how they allocated money already received from the American Rescue Plan Act. Of the $198 billion authorized by Congress in 2021, $173 billion already has been appropriated by states, the District […]

Costs of incarceration rise as inflation squeezes inmates, families

BY: - October 19, 2022

Across the nation, prison commissaries are raising prices on items that many consider basic necessities — from deodorant to fresh fruit — not provided by the state department of corrections. The markups come as decades-high inflation is also squeezing inmates’ families, making it harder for them to help.  It’s a burden that families shouldn’t have […]