Michigan Prisoners Protest Food, Overcrowding, Insanitary Conditions

Press Release
From Reverend Joel Dufresne
Re, Kinross Correctional Facility, Michigan Department of Corrections

The MDOC, Michigan Department of Corrections, has attempted to censor what the protest at Kinross Correctional Facility, KCF, was truly about.  The administration misleads the media by stating that the demonstration performed by the incarcerated body, was solely due to the quality of food being served by Trinity Food Service.  That was partly the reason for the demonstration but not the sole reason for it.  The following complaints are all of the issues that were being addressed through the peaceful demonstration that was orchestrated by the prison populous of KCF.

Insofar as Trinity Food Services are concerned, our grievance with them pertain to the insufficient food portions and the quality of food being served, followed by the preparation of the food which is often served under cooked and cold.  The staff of this company seems to be either incompetent or unwilling to correct the obvious.  When formally addressed, they are unwilling to lend any merit to our complaints.  They have side-lined themselves especially in the area of quality control.  The medically required diets have become just as lacking in necessary nutrients and are often times unrecognizable as what is being served.  This is partly due to the prisoners being hired to prepare the meals.  Security measure at this level two facility only allows for “low risk” prisoners to work in the kitchen.  This act itself has led to the pure production of food.  As it stands, there are just not enough “qualified” of “competent” prisoners being hired to prepare the meals.  This needs to change.

Though there are a plenty of other issues that can and should be addressed,  I will take this opportunity to address the more pressing issues.  This particular prison was originally constructed and designed to house a “maximum” of 600 prisoners.  This number has now been doubled, as there is a total of 1200 prisoners currently being housed at this facility.  The toilets are constantly overflowing and there is a persistent aroma of sewage protruding from the drains.  Let us not exclude the fact that there are only 8 toilets and 6 urinals available for a total of 160 men.  An ACA standard (3-4132) states that there are to be at least 10 toilets and 6 urinals for this number because the minimum ration according to their standard, one toilet per 12 prisoners.  It should be duly noted that, insofar as the ACA standards are concerned, a urinal is considered one-half of a toilet.  If you would like to know the definition of insanity, could this or would this be it.  The ceiling in one of the facilities units (A unit), literally collapsed after a water pipe, which had burst several times in the past, exploded after freezing.  All winter long, we have been subjected to inconsistent ventilation and heating problems that still exist, as the facility has been unable to properly balance and regulate air-flow due to the type of ventilation system built in these units.  At one point in time, the units had become so cold within, that the maintenance team were reduced to redistributing piles of snow up against the outer walls of the units to be used as a form of insulation.

Another issue that was not properly conveyed to the public upon the opening of this facility was that only two units (A and B) were inspected.  Both of these units were sufficiently supplied and prepared to be inhabited, however, the others were not.  Close to a thousand prisoners were ushered into this setting that was completely unfit for living.  The facility had remained dormant for a period of 8 to 10 years and the conditions reflect that dormant state.  The two units mentioned above are also being used for temporary layovers and the housing of dogs, a program that has been recently implemented.  The unit that houses these dogs has been awarded additional ventilation for the dogs but such concerns have not been afforded to the general population.  One could argue that the Constitutional violation of “Cruel and Unusual Punishment,” might apply here.

One of the most mentally pressing issues is the apparent “Black Mold” situation.  Several prisoners have been rushed to the hospital for respiratory ailments that seemed to have appeared out of the clear, blue sky.  We are aware of the fact, there are various types of “Black Mold” and that we have no way of determining which type seems to be growing in this environment.  That being said, what is certain, the MDOC’s assessment of the mold cannot be trusted.  This mold could be of the worst kind and they would say otherwise.

It should also be noted that this facility has crammed 8 prisoners into a 19 x 12 cubicle, with a table resting in the center of it.  Against the walls are 4 bunks, each with a chair present at its side and two chairs that sit at the table.  I’m sure that it is not hard to imagine that a set-up such as this leaves virtually no room to move about.  ACA standard (3-4128-1) states that each prisoner must have a total of 25 sq. ft. of unencumbered space.  Yet, after accounting for all of the above furnishings, there is only 107.06sq. ft. available for the 8 prisoners.  This is nearly one half of what the ACA standards consider to be “humane.”

There is one more pressing issue that should be addressed and that is the issue pertaining to human contact.  The warden of this facility has superseded Policy Directive that allows prisoners to have physical contact with loved ones during visits.  Due to his personal concerns, which he calls “Security Risk,” He arranged the visiting room in such a way that does not permit prisoners from being able to hug or place their arms around a loved one.  The MDOC Policy Directive 05.03.140(y) states, “Physical contact between prisoners and visitors is prohibited except for one kiss and one embrace between the prisoner and each one of his visitor(s) at the beginning and end of each visit.  In addition, a prisoner and his visitor are permitted to have their arms around the shoulders of one another and may hold hands.”  The Warden here, at KCF, has created an Operating Procedure that circumvents Policy Directive, without any merit or Legislative authority.  This is a violation of Policy Directive 01.04.110 pg. 2, subsections L and M, which reads as follows:

(L)  An operating procedure implements, and derives authority from, an administrative rule, a policy directive, or a DOM.  If an operating procedure is required to implement a policy directive or DOM, that requirement shall be set forth in the policy directive or DOM.

(M)  An operating procedure is set to be issued as a substitute for an administrative rule, a policy directive, or a DOM.  Procedures identify who does what, and when to implement a rule, policy directive, or DOM.  However, the “who does what” format need only be used when specific positions have responsibilities for different tasks.  All operating procedures shall be formatted consistent with requirements set forth by the administrator of the office of legal affairs and been assigned a unique identifying number.

In conclusion, the statements are proof that this facility, that is exceeding its budget of 2 million dollars to 9 million, has grossly misappropriated public funds.  It cares more about squeezing out more finances rather than attending to the well-being of the prisoners, which the State of Michigan has entrusted into their care.  These issues and many others are an ongoing problem of which the prison body has repeatedly tried to address in a peaceful manner but have been ignored at every turn.  The health, safety and all around well-being is clearly at the bottom of KFC and this Warden’s agenda.  This alone, must be construed as being an “Inhumane Treatment,” in and of itself.

Respectfully,

Joel Dufresne #257173