Prison workers picket, call for reform

MARQUETTE — People working for the Michigan Department of Corrections picketed Tuesday, demanding change.

Concerned prison workers gathered along US–41, across the street from the Marquette Branch Prison.

Workers are calling for a change in leadership, and use pickets like this as means of getting the public informed.

“The difficulty is this- in the criminal justice world, corrections is kind of the hidden arm,” said Byron Osborn, President of the Michigan Corrections Organization. “We’re behind walls, we’re behind fences, and unless something unusual happens, most of the average citizens and media don’t hear what goes on in there. For us, these informational pickets are our only means to get legislators, citizens, lawmakers, governor’s office to say, ‘Hey, there’s an issue here that they want to raise.'”

According to Osborn, the state needs 750 more corrections officers to be fully staffed.

Currently, officers are working mandatory double shifts to make up for the vacancies.

The Michigan Corrections Organization, which represents corrections officers statewide, submitted a letter of no–confidence to the Michigan Legislature and governor’s office, about corrections’ leadership.