Michigan Department of Corrections

KINCHELOE, MI (MPRN)--   The state has temporarily relocated 236 inmates from an Upper Peninsula prison, after some prisoners took over a housing unit at the Chippewa Correctional Facility Sunday night.  

The inmates did widespread damage to the unit, including broken windows and surveillance units and ripped-out sinks, according to the Michigan Department of Corrections.

The five-hour takeover occurred after an inmate involved in a fight was tased and taken to the hospital.

KINCHELOE, MI--   Officials say order has returned to the Chippewa Correctional Facility after inmates of one unit took control overnight. 

The Michigan Department of Corrections reports a three-person fight broke out on a Level 2 housing unit at the Kincheloe prison around 10:25 Sunday night. Officers tasered one of the prisoners involved. He was taken to a local hospital for treatment.

As the ambulance left, inmates walked out of their cells and approached the officer station. Correctional officers got out of the unit safely and the prisoners took control.

MARQUETTE, MI--   A spokesman says the Michigan Department of Corrections is actively recruiting to fill hundreds of correctional officer vacancies at state prisons.

Chris Gautz is responding to pickets held by COs at facilities around Michigan—including Marquette. They want less mandated overtime and a change of leadership at the MDOC.

Gautz says the vacancy rate statewide is 11.8 percent. He notes the department aims for a 7-percent vacancy rate, and if more people are hired officers complain they can’t get overtime.

Nicole Walton

MARQUETTE, MI--   Correctional officers from Marquette Branch prison went on the picket line Tuesday to protest what they call unsustainable staffing levels.

Employees with the Michigan Department of Corrections say 750 officer vacancies statewide have made working at prisons dangerous.

Byron Osborn is president of the Michigan Corrections Organization. He says widespread mandatory overtime, sometimes several days a week, is normal practice.


MUNISING, MI (AP)--   Federal agents are investigating a drug operation at a prison in Munising.

A search at the Alger Correctional facility turned up methamphetamine, LSD, a medication for opioid addiction and a digital scale. The Detroit News says the details are in federal court records.

No one has been arrested, and there’s no mention in the documents about how drugs got into the prison. Corrections Department spokesman Chris Gautz says nothing's been found to suspect staff “at this time.”

LANSING, MI--   Following the completion Friday of testing prisoners at Michigan Reformatory in Ionia for COVID-19, the Michigan Department of Corrections has completed its goal of testing every prisoner in its system.

The department had been testing symptomatic prisoners since late March and had done well more than a thousand tests. In mid-April, the MDOC started the mass testing of several facilities on its own as a continuation of its proactive measures to slow the spread of the virus in its facilities. 

MARQUETTE, MI--   Medical specialists from the Michigan National Guard are helping the Department of Corrections test U.P. prisoners for COVID-19.

Starting Monday staff will test every prisoner at the Baraga Correctional Facility, then move east across the U.P. with the goal of testing one facility each day. After Baraga the facilities to be tested include the Alger Correctional Facility, Marquette Branch Prison, the Newberry Correctional Facility, Chippewa Correctional Facility, and Kinross Correctional Facility. A total of about 7,500 prisoners will get the test.

LANSING, MI--   Beginning Monday at the Baraga Correctional Facility, medical specialists from the Michigan National Guard will assist Michigan Department of Corrections (MDOC) staff in testing every prisoner at the facility. The guard members will then move east across the U.P. with the goal of testing one facility each day.

LANSING, MI (MPRN)--   Forty-one inmates in the state prison system have now died of COVID-19. 

Now, the Michigan Department of Corrections faces a class action lawsuit, alleging it has failed to protect inmates from the deadly virus.

The lawsuit says MDOC is failing to meet the CDC's coronavirus guidance for prisons.  It says social distancing isn't being enforced, infected inmates aren't always being isolated, and soap is rationed.

MARQUETTE, MI--   Marquette Branch Prison is making room for a possible transfer of prisoners who have tested positive for COVID-19.

Michigan Department of Corrections spokesman Chris Gautz says some prisons don’t have the ability to isolate if a prisoner contracts the coronavirus. Space is being made in those that do so they can be safely treated, should the need arise.

Gautz says the MDOC is also looking at ways to address any correctional officer shortages at prisons where infected inmates are ultimately transferred.

The Department’s full statement is below: