LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) — Citizens for Prison Reform is celebrating its 10-year anniversary of helping families with incarcerated loved ones.
The event will be held at the UU Church of Greater Lansing on Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. It will feature a mock solitary cell, music, poetry, raffles, and a silent auction.
Officials with the family-run statewide nonprofit say they’re focused on change within the system, especially when it comes to families being able to visit their incarcerated loved ones.
Citizens for Prison Reform say punishments are oftentimes the reason behind visits being revoked. The nonprofit says one of its top priorities is to restore these visits.
“We are finding families who haven’t had their visits for many many years, and we believe that unless a family was caught bringing the actual drugs into the visitation room, that families should not be punished.”Lois Pullano – Executive Director for Citizens for Prison Reform
Officials with the organization also say they’re motivated to end solitary confinement as they believe inmates are treated unfairly, creating negative impacts on their mental health.
Beverly Hynes experienced this with her son Drew, who was in solitary confinement for 45 days.
“Week by week, I could see his mental state diminish,” Hynes said.
Hynes says it later developed into him having suicidal thoughts.
She says Drew was also a diabetic and had his insulin withheld while he was incarcerated, causing major health complications.
“If it wasn’t for another incarcerated male alerting them that he needed to be hospitalized, he would have died in jail,” Hynes said.
Seeing her son go through these struggles made her want to help others.
“I just can’t sit by and know that there are so many other people suffering inside solitary confinement and just being neglected and abused in the system,” Hynes said. “I just feel the need to work in this system and do what I can.”
Citizens for Prison Reform wants to use its 10th anniversary to focus on these issues and volunteers with the group said they’re willing to do anything they can to see these changes within the system.