Milbourn, Matthew A.



APWA 198 College Hill rd Clinton, NY 13323-1218 7/11/20 T.V.? When I came into the Michigan Prison system (2012) I was lucky enough to receive a (unrelated) government Settlement of $1500.00. This I used to purchase a T.V., radio, headphones, clothing, shoes, razor, beard trimmer, and other allowed personal property. The T.V. alone was $130.00. After that purchase I soon realized holding on to it would be a very stressful battle. This because others would be trying to steal or break it (especially if you are old, white and/or have a criminal sexual conduct conviction). Now in no way, shape, or form, is prisoners property of any kind of a priority to any MDOC staff. They leave it up to you to “protect” your property. Granted, violence is against prison rules. But there is an expectation that you will use violence to protect your property (and yourself). For instance I was told by a RUM (resident unit manager) at ECF prison (Oaks), that I had to fight. My answer was “No”, I wasn’t about to start now, at my age --nor was I doing any changing for the worst! (I grieved this -- no avail, of course.) So thru-out my T.V. ownership I had to always be concerned about it-doing what I could to keep it safe. Locking the cord to the shelf, keeping it in my locker or foot locker. But these combination locks Pg 2 -- T.V. -- 7/11/20 are easily compromised. The locks can easily be snapped open. Only hope is for it to take longer for a theft to occur so possible discovery will be made during the act. About (4) years into my prison sentence, because the cord was secured and couldn’t be stolen, my T.V. was smashed -- so no more T.V. to worry about. I have no outside help with any money. And with prison wages around $11.00/month after 1/2 taken for intuitional debts from prior indigency loans and legal fees, its almost impossible to save enough for another T.V. which isn’t really worth the stress owning one gives. And so I don’t own one. Other items are routinely stolen too. How is so possible for so much theft to occur in prison -- of all places -- you say??? Well there are a lot of rule breakers here. There is no realistic incentive to not break rules -- no “good Time” in Michigan (yet). Breaking rules I’m speaking of are those which infringe on others, i.e. drugs usage, alcohol making and using, gambling, extortion of prisoner “stores” (selling store items for higher price), all of which (most anyway) funded by theft or prisoners families. This is the norm! There is a solution besides good behavior incentives It would solve many, if not all, of these problems. It gives “incentive” not to break rules as well as accountability if they are broken. Camera’s in all "locking" Pg 3 -- T.V. -- 7/11/20 areas of more than 2-men, all common areas -- except bathrooms and showers, TV rooms, hallways, all areas prisoner property is searched, and etc. With that level of monitoring the difficulty of breaking “infringing” rules would be very much increased. It would be majorly reduced and disciplinary action could be given that had actual proof. It would also protect prison guards from false accusations of many kinds (as well as prisoners too). But, of course, it’s the same old excuse: no money for this -- even with all the positives it gives. But since when do we use common sense in our prison systems like this? Michigan doesn’t! Makes you wonder what the real goal is anyway? When all you do is lock people up -- letting them rampetly breach rules that concern the very kinds of behaviors they are serving time for -- give them no incentive for good behaviors -- is it any surprise its approaching $3-billion to house under 50,000? I think this is the very definition of a money pit!!! You are not using all that money properly or to any advantage -- since no correcting is really being given. There has been and are camera’s in place. But there placement is inadequate. Even when new” systems are installed they lack. And certainly many old systems are lacking too. Examples of old systems are easy to see. Pg 4 -- T.V. -- 7/11/20 Hall ways with “cubes” (of usually 8-men ea) only have coverage of end cubes -- middle cubes are “safe” from monitoring. This is true here at (KCF) Kinross Facility. It was same at (MRI) Mich Reformatory when I was there a few years ago too. And at many others too. But when you get a chance to install a new system (thats over $1-million), as was done at (LCF) Lakeland Facility and install in such a way that creates “safe havens” of some locking areas -- what’s going on? They put many cameras on the yard -- at least 10-12 in the chow hall dining room and more in kitchen. When it came to the 8 man rooms (especially), and the 5-6-man rooms there were no cameras put in them. So “safe havens” for whatever. My T.V. was smashed in the C-4, 8 man room. And when those I pointed this out to: State Attorney General, Ombudsman, MDOC Director, ect an investigation appeared to follow -- “guided” by LCF staff (so covering up was done) nothing was changed. I’m sure an accurate “picture” was never given (because of security reason I surmise). I know prior to the LCF camera installation inmates went to the Administration (Dep Warden Morrison said he chose not to put cameras in those rooms), complaining of “privacy” issues -- but since when is there any expectation of privacy in Pg 5 -- T.V. -- 7/11/20 prison. So who is really “in charge” at LCF? Maybe its the prisoners. So here’s the thing. There is no incentive to not break rules, in MI prisons, when you know there is nothing to held you accountable for actions (unseen). And there is no “reward” to not break the rules either. These bad actions, by the way, infringe on prisoners trying to follow rules, and change their behaviors -- on their own because the state is doing very little to “Correct” anything. (Although their "programs” do try to show they are doing something -- but its so little it doesn’t really matter.) Is there a responsibility here for the State of MI? Are they not supposed to be offering rehabilitation as well as protection from abuse by others? But, of course, no one holds the MDOC accountable -- and when its tried there is always an excuse: funding, security, or good order. And you will never see inside a MI prison on T.V., that’s a “security” risk here -- but not so much for those other prisons you see on T.V. huh (maybe they aren’t trying to fool their voters in those states!) And its not going to be likely any easier to posses allowable property (like T.V.s) or stay safe in Michigan prisons -- unless you are willing to disobey rules yourself. And at no time in the future either because the state of MI employees (including the legislature) Pg 6 -- T.V. -- 7/11/20 are not going to fix these things -- just as they aren’t going to reduce the prison population to give more personal spaces as recommended by the CDC for virus outbreaks. Never is the reasonable, sensible thing done because the "price tag” (most important right?!) is always too great. Or maybe they all just lack the intelligence to know how to fix things which most certainly are as broken as my T.V.!!!!

Author: Milbourn, Matthew A.

Author Location: Michigan

Date: July 11, 2020

Genre: Essay

Extent: 6 pages

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