Washtenaw County, MI – Last week, the Board of Commissioners unanimously approved a resolution to support State Senator Jeff Irwin’s request for a hearing on allegations of extreme staffing shortages and deteriorating prison conditions at the Women’s Huron Valley Correctional Facility. In January, Senator Irwin wrote a letter to the Senate Oversight Committee Chair, which detailed many reports of poor working and living conditions. This Michigan Department of Corrections operated facility is located in Pittsfield Township in Washtenaw County.
“While this is the State’s facility to manage, it’s in our community, and we need to do what we can to ensure that the staff and inmates are provided adequate resources and support,” said Caroline Sanders, County Commissioner for District 4. “A hearing on the staffing and conditions at the Women’s Huron Valley Correctional Facility can answer important questions that have been raised by members of our community.”
In their resolution, the Board highlights the reported consequences of staff shortages that can threaten employee mental health, morale, and safety. They also acknowledge that staff shortages can have an extremely detrimental effect on the health and wellbeing of inmates, by reducing access to socialization, visitation, and rehabilitation programs that are designed to help them re-enter society successfully.
“Public officials have a responsibility to ensure public employees have suitable conditions to carry out their responsibilities and service inmates with the compassion and care they deserve,” said Sue Shink, Chair of the Board and Commissioner for District 2. “We applaud Senator Irwin’s advocacy and are willing to do what we can to support his efforts as a County.”
The approved version of the resolution will be shared with the Washtenaw County representatives in the State House and Senate, along with the Chairman of the Senate Oversight Committee. A copy of the resolution can be found here.