Michigan prisons

Donald Miller photo
Courtesy photo / Lansing State Journal

This week, serial killer Donald Miller meets with the parole board about a possible release from prison. Miller confessed to killing four people. We talk with Lansing State Journal reporter Beth LeBlanc and with Randy Gilbert, who survived one of the attacks.

Jail cells photo
Julie, Dave & Family / flickr creative commons

We talk with Barbara Levine of the Citizens Alliance on Prisons and Public Spending about prison reforms being considered in Lansing.

Pixabay photo

How do children cope with having a parent behind bars? A new study from the Annie E. Casey Foundation finds 10 percent of Michigan children have an incarcerated parent. We talk about the impact on families -and potential solutions- with Alicia Guevara Warren of the Michigan League for Public Policy.

The U.S. Supreme Court building
Wikimedia Commons

In 2012, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that mandatory life in prison without parole for juvenile offenders was unconstitutional. On Monday, the court said that ruling applies to people currently serving sentences for crimes they committed as minors. Current State talks to both a prison reform proponent and a victims’ rights advocate about their reaction to the decision. 

Chris Miller / flickr creative commons

The U.S. Supreme Court is studying whether to offer a chance at freedom to offenders sentenced to mandatory life terms as juveniles. Current State talks with Lansing-based reporter Craig Mauger of MIRS News. He exchanged letters with Michigan inmates who could be impacted.

Courtesy Michigan Indigent Defense Commission

The U.S. Constitution guarantees the right to an attorney. But underfunded and disjointed public defense systems means that low income people accused of a crime don’t get adequate representation in court. A new set of standards from the Michigan Indigent Defense Commission hopes to change that.

Youth Behind Bars report cover image
Courtesy image / Michigan Council on Crime and Delinquency

There’s been increasing scrutiny in recent years of how Michigan treats juveniles who are tried and convicted as adults in the state’s justice system. A bipartisan coalition of Michigan lawmakers is proposing big changes to the way the state handles these cases. We talk to Sen. Rick Jones, one of the sponsors of the bill package being introduced Wednesday, and Kristen Staley, Associate Director of Youth Justice Policy for the Michigan Council on Crime and Delinquency.

Hugh Clarke Jr. photo
Courtesy photo / Ingham County District Court

One of the criminal justice issues being discussed during this year’s One Book, One Community program is mandatory minimum sentences. The Michigan Supreme Court eliminated mandatory minimums earlier this year. We talk with District Court Judge Hugh Clarke Jr. and MSU criminal justice professor Christopher Smith in advance of a forum on the subject tonight.

Heidi Washington photo
Courtesy Michigan Department of Corrections

Prison reform is one of Michigan’s hottest ongoing topics. As the discussion continues, an East Lansing resident takes the helm of the Department of Corrections. Current State speaks with Heidi Washington.

The state is cutting ties with Aramark and starting fresh with a new company to provide food service to Michigan prisons. Current State talks with Michigan Public Radio Network Statehouse Bureau Chief Rick Pluta.

Dana Liebelson photo

Current State talks with Huffington Post reporter Dana Liebelson about her recent article about juvenile offenders in Michigan’s prison system and the challenges facing reporters covering the prison system.

Michigan prosecutors have issued a report with their positions on reforming the state's prison system.

Current State talks with Barb Levine, lead author of a report from The Citizens Alliance on Prisons and Public Spending that offers a roadmap to reducing the prison population and saving the state hundreds of millions of dollars every year.

Flickr - Ben

From 2003 to 2013, Michigan prosecuted over 20,000 juvenile offenders as adults. Advocates for juvenile justice reform say youth housed in adult prisons are at a much greater risk for sexual abuse and suicide than the adult prison population. And while there is now a sight and sound barrier between juvenile offenders and the adult prison population, that wasn’t always the case. The state is now facing allegations from seven former juvenile offenders that they were sexually abused by both other prisoners and prison staff while housed in those facilities.

Flickr - Todd Ehlers

In a recent op-ed, Republican State Representative Joe Haveman of Holland describes coming to Lansing five years ago to advance principles of limited government and restrained spending. He goes on to describe how his commitment to those principles unexpectedly led him to advocate reforms to Michigan’s $2 billion a year correctional system.