Open Letter to Gov. Gretchen Whitmer

Re: Open Letter on: HB 4129, HB 4130, HB 4131, and HB 4132; Repeal of Disciplinary Time; and Gus Harrison C.F.

No comments

Rand W. Gould C-187131                                                                      21 June 2019
Central Michigan C.F.
320 N. Hubbard St.
St. Louis, MI 48880

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer
George W. Romney Bldg.
P.O. Box 30013
Lansing, MI 48909

“Don’t undertake a project unless it’s manifestly important and nearly impossible.” – Edwin Land

Re: Open Letter on: HB 4129, HB 4130, HB 4131, and HB 4132; Repeal of Disciplinary Time; and Gus Harrison C.F.

Dear Gov. Whitmer,

            Thank you so much for signing the four above-referenced bills into law. Ever since October 13, 2014, when I was transported to Duane Waters Hospital in Jackson for an eye exam, due to my macular degeneration (MD), and saw medically frail prisoners, more ghosts than men, being lifted in and out of wheelchairs at the Oncology Clinic, I’ve been an avid advocate of medical parolees (i.e., early releases) for these frail, mostly elderly, prisoners. See “A Journey to Death’s Door: The Last Stop For Lifers In Michigan’s Prisons,” in CURE Lifelong Newsletter, February 2015, 8; and Letter to Gov. Rick Snyder, May 25, 2015; both at www.freerandgould.com

However, considering these prisoners are essentially immobile, thus harmless, whether they’ve served one day or fifty years of their sentence, and cost state taxpayers significantly more than $35,000 per year to incarcerate a healthy prisoner, I urge you and the state legislature to extend the effects of these bills to include all medically frail prisoners. Particularly, those sentenced to Life Without Parole, and under MCL 750.520b (Criminal Sexual Conduct, 1st Degree), who it seems to me would constitute the majority of medically frail prisoners and whose release on parole to a hospice would save state taxpayers the most money.

            For the record, I haven’t got a dog in this fight. I am 65 years of age, but I’m in good health (aside from MD, a bum left knee, and an inguinal hernia the medical provider, Corizon, refuses to treat), and I’m eligible for parole, having passed my earliest release date (ERD) of May 19, 2019, thanks to parole board member Anthony King giving me an 18-month pass-over based on his falsification of my institutional record in order to justify this adverse action against me. See Letter to Michigan Parole Board, April 24, 2019 (re: Parole Board Notice of Decision, Anthony King, 1/15/2019), at www.freerandgould.com

I don’t have a dog in the fight to repeal disciplinary time either, as I was sentenced to 25-50 years for a crime committed before December 15, 1998, when it went into effect, causing every prisoner thereafter to serve their entire minimum sentence before becoming eligible for parole consideration. Pending bills HB 5666 and SB 1143 both repeal disciplinary time and disciplinary credit laws and restore good time credits to prisoners not sentenced to so-called Proposal B crimes, or under any sentence enhancement scheme, the majority of whom would be serving significantly less than 10 years, so not long indeterminably sentenced prisoners. As such, this would result in a minimal reduction in current prisoner numbers. A much greater reduction would be achieved by simply repealing disciplinary time and leaving disciplinary credits intact. This would save taxpayers millions of dollars and allow for the closing of several more prisons. See “The Good Time Bill Myth: Good Time Credits, Proposal B, Disciplinary Credits, and Truth-In-Sentencing in Michigan Prisons,” May 23, 2019, at www.freerandgould.com

            One of these prisons to be closed should most definitely be Gus Harrison Correctional Facility, where the four Level I pole barns should be condemned due to cracking and sinking cement slab foundations and black mold-infested ceilings and attic spaces. If they were to continue in operation safely, they would, at minimum, require a fire suppression system as mandated by state building codes, especially now that metal grates have been installed over the windows. Moreover, the tap water supplied by the City of Adrian is contaminated by, among other things, a toxic algae bloom in the lake it is sourced from, and the citizens of Adrian, along with the staff at Harrison, will not drink it. See “Inside Michigan Prisons: Overview and Analysis of Structure and Conditions,” San Francisco Bay View, December 2018, and at www.freerandgould.com

            Unfortunately for prisoners at Harrison C.F., the administration is as bad as the infrastructure. The Legislative Corrections Ombudsman (LCO), in a report written by LCO attorney Jessica Zimbelman, concluded Harrison C.F. staff “discriminated against inmates, based on race, sexual orientation, and sex offender status,” had assaulted prisoners, and wrote false misconduct reports on them. See LCO Report, Jessica L. Zimbelman, February 2011; and Griffin v. Condon, 794 Fed. Appx. 925 (6th Cir 2018) (n.b., On 9/26/18, HB 6397 was introduced, shortly after said Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals decision against Harrison C.F. staff was handed down on 8/18/18, which amends MCL 4.359 and related statues to make LCO investigation records confidential, privileged, not subject to discovery, and exempt from the FOIA. Said bill was passed by the House on 11/29/18 , the Senate shortly thereafter, and signed into law by Gov. Snyder effectively rendering a toothless LCO of its ability to report to the public on the staff corruption and criminality that is hidden by the MDOC’s walls and fences.

            Having spent decades behind them, I’ve never experienced the level of staff corruption, criminality, and sheer incompetence that I have at Gus Harrison C.F. Some of this I’ve already made your office familiar with via Administrative Notices. See Administrative Notice Retaliation for Seeking Legal Redress, Rand W. Gould, 8/27/18; and Administrative Notice and Statement, Rand W. Gould, 3/18/19. But it isn’t just me, and some prisoners have paid with their lives for staff and administration corruption and incompetence. See “Back Through the Looking Glass: The Death of Brian Rodriguez and the ‘Fake’ Flu Quarantine at Gus Harrison Correctional Facility,” March 25, 2019, at www.freerandgould.com

            Hopefully you will look into these matters and take appropriate action. I have a sense that you will and that the state and MDOC can change for the better. If you need any more information or details from me, regarding any of the above, please do not hesitate to contact me.

            Thank you for your time and consideration.

                        Sincerely,

                                    Rand W. Gould

To download a PDF of this letter, click here.

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