McBroom fights back on MDOC visitation policies

Local State Senator Ed McBroom (R-38, Waucedah Township) is speaking out after problems with public oversight of Michigan prisons operated by the Michigan Department of Corrections (MDOC).

“I have visited numerous prisons and have always been impressed with how clean things were and how orderly it was. Yet, I’ve also been told ‘you should have seen how it was yesterday. You should have seen all the work we did to get it before you got here.’,” McBroom wrote on his official Facebook page. “I’ve had numerous wardens invite me to just drop by anytime, and yet, this 72-hour policy was initiated last year.”

McBroom proposed an amendment to an existing bill requiring more unilateral McBroom speaks out about Michigan Department of Corrections policies regarding public oversight and data compilation and analysis on the Michigan Senate floor.

definitions of activity in Michigan prisons that are required to be reported by the MDOC. The amendment would have overturned the 72-hour policy implemented at various Michigan prisons. A review of MDOC procedures has been an ongoing issue for the Michigan Senate Oversight Committee, which McBroom serves on as chair.

As covered in Munising Beacon stories before, MDOC wardens and other leadership have authority to change any policy that would directly impact the health and safety of prisoners, staff and correctional officers. However, some of these policies have lead to conditions that question the constitutionality of the incarceration, ranging from allegations of hindering attorney-client privilege to one of the most restrictive banned book list for incarcerated people in the country.

Locally elected officials have more connection to the MDOC than other politicians across the state. 11th Circuit Court Judge Brian Rahilly is the only judge to have more than two correctional facilities in the circuit. He issued multiple writs to take prisoners out of correctional facilities so they could speak with their attorneys in a constitutionally- protected manner after policy changes internally at various prisons. McBroom’s 38th Senate District has five of 31 total prisons, which is more than any other senate district in Michigan.

Alger Correctional Facility is one of the county’s top three employers, meaning any policy changes would lead to direct impact for many local workers as well as the impact it would have on constitutional issues.

McBroom also posted his comments from the Senate floor regarding the issue. Those videos are available on Facebook.