Glitch sends out old alert on power outage at Parnall prison

James David Dickson
The Detroit News

A Michigan Department of Corrections alert, send out Wednesday morning, warned that visiting hours at the Parnall Correctional Facility in Jackson were off Wednesday, due to a power outage at the facility.

But that message was sent out in error, and should've gone out Tuesday when there actually was a power outage at the facility, said MDOC spokesman Chris Gautz.

The main entrance of the Parnall Correctional Facility in Jackson.

Tuesday's power outage occurred during Lt. Gov. Garlin Gilchrist II's visit to Parnall's Vocational Village program, where a non-profit called The Last Mile held a celebration announcing its computer coding program, which started in August.

Gilchrist, a former Microsoft employee who went on to work on social media for the 2008 Barack Obama presidential campaign. He ran for Detroit City Clerk in 2017 and lost to incumbent Janice Winfrey. He was tapped as Gretchen Whitmer's running mate during her successful gubernatorial run in 2018.

Some 1,700 prisoners are lodged at Parnall, and 264 full-time positions are budgeted to the facility. The MDOC website describes Parnall as an "in-reach facility" that is "charged with the task of readying prisoners for a successful transition to their community."

It hosts one of the corrections department's Vocational Village programs, where inmates learn career skills such as commercial truck driving and, since August, computer coding.

Inmates taking part in the Vocational Village live in segregated housing with one another.