Prison reform coalition urges leaders to end solitary confinement in Michigan

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LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) —- Today, from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Open MI Door will be on the Capitol lawn as a part of the 9th annual Citizens for Prison Reform legislative day.

The group plans to create a mock cell to emulate the experience of being in solitary confinement, and the reality of living in a 6 by 9 foot space.

A press conference will be taking place at 11:00 a.m., and survivors of solitary, family members of those who have died in solitary, public health officials and campaign leaders will be in attendance to share testimonies about the experience of solitary confinement and its impact.

The public will have the opportunity to interact with speakers, and to learn more about the Open MI Door’s goals for the coming years, and the progress they have made thus far.

The Coalition additionally is urging Governor Gretchen Whitmer and Michigan Department of Corrections Director Heidi Washington to reduce the hours spent in a cell by the current 3,211 prisoners.

Lois Pullano, Coordinator of the Open MI Door Campaign, spoke on the long-lasting impact of confinement upon inmates,

We must implement standards creating human dignity for all living and working in the prison system and all institutes that isolate human beings.  Under the current practices and culture, the harmful practices are impacting not only those living inside, but those working inside and it ripples out with long-lasting horrific effects on families and children within our communities.  95-97%  of those inside will come back out and live with us in our communities.  How they are treated inside impacts their well-being upon their return.”

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