How the Michigan Correctional Facility is being ‘treated like a women’s prison’
MIAMI — When a correctional facility in Florida announced it was changing its gender policies, it was met with outrage and anger from a handful of local women’s groups.
The announcement triggered a national conversation about gender parity in correctional facilities, and the impact that change would have on the safety and wellbeing of women in the community.
But the Michigan facility is no stranger to controversy.
After months of scrutiny, the state agency tasked with implementing the changes on Tuesday said the changes will “not affect the safety or security of any women who have been incarcerated in the Michigan Department of Corrections, and will not affect the privacy or security interests of women.”
It remains to be seen if any changes will be made to the Michigan system, but the governor and his administration are hoping to address the issue at the local level.
For the past four years, Gov.
Rick Snyder has been trying to expand prison space, but his administration has not had the political will or the financial backing to push for the kinds of changes that are needed to expand the facilities, according to several sources familiar with the conversations.
“It is a lot of pressure on the governor’s office,” said one source familiar with internal discussions about expanding the state’s prisons.
“They need to step up.
While he wants to expand, he is very hesitant to do it in the same way as Florida.
The only way he could do it is if he has the support of the legislature.”
The changes announced Tuesday do not require legislative approval and they do not affect existing female inmates, said Mary-Ellen Moore, the executive director of the Michigan Women’s Coalition.
The changes were “a huge win for women’s health and safety, but I don’t think it’s going to stop the debate on how best to move forward with women in correctional settings,” she said.
At the same time, the change is significant for those incarcerated in prisons that have female staff, who are required to be housed with men, said Emily Binder, director of legal services at the National Women’s Law Center.
“The changes do not change the fact that women have to be held at the same distance from male inmates and that they cannot speak to each other,” she told The Associated Press.
The prison system has historically held women in solitary confinement, where they are allowed to have limited contact with other inmates.
The new policy requires them to be supervised by a female supervisor, and to report to their male colleagues only after they have had a meal, a routine requirement that some inmates have complained was not met.
But Moore said there is a significant risk of abuse if female inmates are allowed the same privileges as male inmates, who often have access to the internet and social media, among other things.
A spokeswoman for the Michigan Corrections Department declined to comment on the new policy and the specific cases that it addresses.
As of last week, the Department of Correction held more than 2,000 inmates in facilities in Detroit, Flint, Grand Rapids, and Lansing, according the U.S. Department of Justice.
Inmates at the state penitentiary in Michigan hold an average of nearly 13 hours a day, according a report from the Associated Press in September.
In addition to women, the prison system faces a significant shortage of prison beds, according an AP analysis of census data.
Female inmates in the prison systems in Michigan, Florida, and Louisiana are the most over-crowded inmates in their states, the report found.
The number of female inmates in Michigan and Florida is more than double the number of male inmates.
In Michigan, about one-third of the state population of more than 1 million women and girls are incarcerated, and one in six is in solitary.
According to the Department Of Corrections, in 2015, the agency held about 17,000 women and children in its facilities.
The agency has about 18,000 male inmates on the books.
Women make up about 40 percent of the population in prison in Michigan.
The state has more female inmates than any other state, according it website.
When the state prison system was formed in 1932, women accounted for less than 5 percent of its inmates, but by 2010 that number had risen to more than 30 percent.
In recent years, however, the numbers of female prisoners has risen.
Despite its gender imbalance, women have been at the forefront of the prison reform movement, and in recent years the movement has also attracted significant attention.
President Barack Obama has called for a “reformation of our criminal justice system that recognizes and empowers women.”
In 2014, the White House released a report highlighting “the profound and continuing effects that institutionalized gender disparities have on women’s lives, health, and safety,” as well as a series of recommendations that would help women and men be housed together in secure facilities.
Many states have also taken steps to increase