Prison Picket in Marquette

Two days ago, the Michigan Department of Corrections started two cost–cutting moves at state prisons.

CO’s are trying to warn residents about potential threats to public safety that they say will come out of the changes.

The Michigan Corrections Organization picketed Marquette Branch Prison today.

The members are protesting the elimination of resident unit officers and nonstop perimeter patrols.

MCO President Tom Tylutki says perimeter security vehicles are a first defense as a deterrent and a last defense in the case of an attempted prison break like the one in Kinross two years ago involving three convicted murderers.

MCO chapter president at Marquette Branch Prison Todd Ninnis says the state is practicing budget-based corrections rather than basing corrections on safety concerns.

The MCO held a picket at the Baraga Correctional Facility yesterday.

Staff there say people outside that prison may now have an easier time helping an inmate escape.

Ed Clements, MCO chapter president at Baraga, says with the gun towers closed, the prison is already at a disadvantage.

He says that with the loss of the vehicle patrols, outsiders can now throw items over the walls onto some areas of prison property.

Other pickets are planned in Munising and Newberry on Wednesday, and then at the Chippewa Correctional Facility in Kinross on Thursday.

Posted by: Mike Hoey