Saturday, December 19, 2015

Taxpayers Pay to Imprison Aging Lifers; Rev. Pinkney Speaks Out

The price of failing to place any limit on the exercise of discretion is very high. The taxpayers the average cost of keeping aging lifers is about $40,000 per year. If half of those currently eligible were released, the annual saving would approach $47 million, but for the criminal justice system it is a failure of integrity.

The system is not reliable when the intention of (even bad) judges and the bases of plea agreements can be undone, simply because the last decision-maker has the unilateral power to say "no." The function of (even bad) judges, prosecutors and defense attorneys are effectively usurped. It is time for the people to take control. The power belongs to the people.

The judges' sentences lack predictive value, since no one can anticipate when a prisoner, who has good institutional conduct and a low risk of re-offending, will be released. The consistency in the treatment of similar offenders who have committed similar offenses is negated.

The fairness of a system with little transparency and no accountability is perpetually open to all kinds of questions, and today there is very little fairness, with very little transparency and absolutely NO accountability. Our system today should be open to a lot of questions.

Prisoners today and their family members understand today there has been a shift in emphasis from rehabilitation to direct and hard punishment which destroys the hope of families that people can ever earn their way home.

In Michigan, in the legacy of tough on crime policies, there is a stratling increase in the number of people aging in prison. Michigan is putting more and more corrections dollars into medical and geriatric care. In 1989 the average age of Michigan prisoners was 31.4. In 2011 it was 38.0. The percentage of the population aged 50 or over is approaching 20 percent. In 2004, the National Institute of Corrections estimated that the average cost of incarcerating an older prisoner, who is chronically or terminally ill, was $70,000.

It is time the people say no more and fight back. We can win this battle, if we stand together.

On Monday [this letter was written prior to 11/30] the Marquette News 6 featured a story about me and, against all odds, made me a hero here like never before. On Tuesday people from around the Marquette area protested outside the prison in shifts. I am now the talk of the prison--even some of the guards are supporting me. This is tremendous! Spread the word.

Rev. Pinkney Speaks Out from Prison

Another bad day for Marquette Prison; another brutal assault on one prisoner by another. Nobody would believe what's going on behind the prison walls. I call it a wall of shame.

Marquette Prison is operating like a death camp or concentration camp, a place where prisoners from around the state of Michigan are assembled. A place where prisoners of war in the State of Michigan are confined.

Last night it was a brutal attack by a prisoner who poured hot oatmeal on another prisoner's face. Every single night there is at least several beatings and on store day this place becomes what it really is: the jungle.

Marquette Prison is the jungle. This place is labeled as a Level I, but it is really like Level 5 and it is known as the jungle. The public, the taxpayers, are paying the price of this unchecked discretion. Prisoner counts are conducted over 16 times nearly every day. The correctional officers have to tell you when to go to breakfast, lunch, and dinner; every minute of your time is controlled. You cannot even go to the little bitty mini-law library. 

The Thanksgiving dinner was garbage, the food had no value. It was nasty, dirty, and disgusting to taste or smell. I would not have given that garbage to a dog to eat. In reality all the meals are like this. You get two blue outfits, 2 pairs of long johns, 3 pairs of underwear, 3 pairs of socks, 1 summer coat, and 1 hat. This is what the taxpayers are paying for, and they are getting ripped off. Warden Robert Napel is ripping off the taxpayer to misappropriate funds to use as he wishes.

Warden Robert Napel has a very strong working group. Most are neo-Nazis (Nazis were members of the National Socialist German Workers Party, founded by Adolf Hitler. Some of the correctional officers complain about the other untrained, unskilled, unprofessional and uneducated officers at Marquette Prison who are really not skilled in anything to do with corrections.

We are living in a hell at Marquette Prison. The tension is so thick you can cut it with a knife. The correctional officers have the whole prison on edge and the Warden rules with an iron fist, creating the hostility that exists inside this prison.

It is time we start thinking about doing a complete audit on Warden Robert Napel and Marquette Branch Prison and closing this prison down!