Letters

Letters 08-01-2016

Voter Suppression And Choice In 2013, five Supreme Court justices, each appointed by Republican presidents, knocked the teeth out of the Voting Rights Act. Immediately a majority of Republican-dominated states began passing laws aimed at suppressing the votes of their majority Democrat demographics: minorities, students and the elderly. These laws – requiring voter IDs, cutting early voting, eliminating same-day registration, closing selected polling places, banning straight-ticket voting, etc. — never flat-out deny a person’s right to vote; they just make actual registering and voting more difficult, and therefore make it more likely that individuals in certain groups will not vote. Think of voter suppression as a kind of reverse marketing strategy, one aimed at getting people not to do something...

Free Parking Patrick Sullivan’s good story on parking overlooked one source of “free parking” that has become an increasing problem in Traverse City: spill-over into adjacent neighborhoods. Instead of discouraging people from bringing cars downtown, we’re allowing them to park on both sides of narrow residential streets all day long...

Real American Duality Isiah Smith didn’t really put his deep thinking hat on before writing the “American Duality” commentary. First there’s geography. His daughter feels safer in Sweden than in the United States, at least partially because of the violence in Dallas, Baton Rouge and Minnesota. Really? Safer than in northern Michigan, which is further away from Dallas and Baton Rouge than Stockholm is from Ansbach, Paris or Brussels and no closer to Minnesota than Sweden is to Germany? Did Smith miss recent supremely violent events in those places? Alrighty then...

Topic: prison
Monday, August 20, 2012

The Letter

Stephen Volas shares the anguish of passing time in a federal prison

Features Robert Downes The letter from a drug rehab prison in Minnesota is a long one: 17 pages of handwritten script filled with tortured explanations, stress, and the stale hours of passing time in a federal prison with five years yet to go.
 
Monday, November 26, 2012

The Drug Kingpin Who Barely Got By

No cement pond, no BMW or lavish lifestyle for Mancelona dealer

Features Patrick Sullivan Circuit Court Judge Philip Rodgers went further, telling Bigger: “Did you live a big lifestyle? Were you sitting out next to the cement pond with a BMW parked in the driveway? No, you weren’t. You lived a pretty crummy lifestyle, from time to time in a camper in your daughter’s front driveway.
 
Monday, March 4, 2013

'Hare - Brained'

One stupid night, years and years in prison

Features Patrick Sullivan It was a hare-brained plan, and it failed in almost every way it could, except that no one got shot or killed.

There were six involved, and five went to the trailer that night, Feb. 28, 2012, a rundown, dingy-looking thing on a dead-end street across from a cemetery in the village of Wellston in Manistee County.

The plan was to rob the place to get a backpack that belonged to the woman. She was a medical marijuana patient, and they figured there was pot and cash in the bag.

 
Monday, May 13, 2013

Felonies Way Up

Is it because there’s a new hard-charging prosecutor in town?

Features Patrick Sullivan

Blue and orange-clad Pugsley Correctional Facility inmates were once a rare sight inside the circuit courtroom in Traverse City. Defense attorney Paul Jarboe, who started practicing law in 1982 and who handles retained cases and is on the court’s roster for indigent defendants, said over the years he rarely saw the inmates in court.

 
Monday, June 10, 2013

My 90 Days in Prison Boot Camp

Features Mike Morey But for real, telling me I’m weak and a bad worker has the same effect as being called a retard and a princess by some of the other corporals. It makes me smile, but only on the inside. Smiling with your face is a rule violation and could result in demerits which could lead to a hearing before the board and theoretically eventually being kicked out.
 
Saturday, August 22, 2015

Prisoners of War in the Michigan Gulag

Other Opinions Grant Parsons Right-wing politicians use imprisonment as the answer to poverty, mental illness, addiction… you name it. Taxpayers are stuck with the cost – the wasteful cost of warehousing non-violent people who otherwise might be sentenced to community service or rehab.
 
Saturday, March 26, 2016

Pugsley

Features Patrick Sullivan The 38-year-old convict was several years into a 5-to-30-year sentence for running a downstate meth lab, keeping his head down as chance for release approached. Then, the unthinkable happened at Pugsley Correctional Facility, the low-level security prison near Kingsley.
 
Saturday, March 26, 2016

Another Slice of Life Inside

Features Patrick Sullivan

One former northern Michigan resident ended up at Pugsley while serving a five-to-ten-year sentence after a felony conviction. The ex-con, who talked in the condition of anonymity, recalls his time spent in prison as an extraordinary waste of taxpayer dollars noting recidivism rates that exceed 40 percent within three years.

 
 
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