7/3/24 – MCO President Requests National Guard Assistance

Governor Whitmer,

Your state corrections officers in the Michigan Department of Corrections need you to take immediate action to address the dangerous working conditions that have persisted and worsened throughout your time as governor. Under your watch, state corrections officers continue to suffer unlike any other state employees ever have in the history of Michigan. They are STILL being forced to work exhausting, demoralizing numbers of mandatory 16-hour overtime shifts per week. They are not being allowed to have a normal, healthy life with their families. None of your other state employees are being subjected to these conditions. 

Corrections officers are STILL being forced to run prison operations with far less than the required number of officers, resulting in unsafe prisoner to officer ratios. Officers are forced to work alone in isolated areas, jeopardizing not only their safety but that of the prisoners. Contrary to what is commonly conveyed to the public, the state prisons are not pleasant facilities filled with well treated officers that are churning out rehabilitated prisoners. The state prisons are STILL dangerous facilities that are only about two thirds full of exhausted officers that are dealing with a gang riddled prisoner population that has taken advantage of lax MDOC policies on prisoner discipline, classification, and use of segregation. The only people happy with the current conditions in the prisons are the prisoners, they’re being coddled at the expense of officer safety.           

The conditions I’ve described to you are real. If you are skeptical and wish to see for yourself, I’ll gladly escort you inside several of your prisons so you can speak directly with your corrections officers, not the administration, about the conditions. We’ve been seeking effective relief solutions from the Legislature and MDOC for years and are now to the point of desperation.

On behalf of all the state corrections officers represented by our organization, I am formally requesting that you activate the Michigan National Guard to provide immediate custody support to prisons in dire need of it while we work directly with you to find realistic, permanent relief measures. We hope you’re listening.

Byron Osborn

President, Michigan Corrections Organization