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Let more prisoners free

Thanks to Nolan Finley for his article, "Michigan lags in protecting prisoners," April 14.

Not many are writing about the huge issue of Gov. Gretchen Whitmer's lack of concern for state prisoners during this pandemic. 

My husband is at Parnall Correctional Facility in Jackson, one of the two prisons in Michigan that have been ravaged by COVID-19. He tells me prisoners are scared to come forward with symptoms because they are then stripped of their personal property, including items they need to shower, and put into isolation where contact with their family is prohibited.

When he calls me, all you can hear in the background is coughing from prisoners standing in line waiting to use the phone. Ambulances come and go throughout the day and night at Parnall. A few inmates even passed out on the yard because they couldn't breathe. 

He is housed in a unit with eight other men — four bunks to a room. His bunkie has now started to cough and exhibit symptoms of the virus, and he is terrified of getting it.

They are not promoting social distancing at all. How could they at a prison? He says they are required to wear their home made masks, but they are essentially useless because when they go to eat they have to remove them. If the person next to them is coughing, there is no way to avoid exposure.

My husband is up for parole in July. Why Whitmer has not done anything to release the prisoners who already have a parole is an outrage. 

Rachel Rivers, Grand Blanc

Virus is a Metro Detroit problem

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer is proving the point that “politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly, and applying the wrong remedies," as British author Ernest Benn said.

It's fair to say this is a Detroit epidemic when more than 80% of the deaths occurred in the three Metro Detroit counties, where 39% of the state's population lives. There is a stark fall-off in fatalities in the five adjacent counties where 13% of the state's population lives.

The counties in which our other largest cities are located — Saginaw, Grand Rapids, and Lansing — are home to roughly 12% of the population but have suffered only 2% of the deaths.

Thirty of Michigan's 83 counties have fewer than ten confirmed cases, and only 17 have more than 100 cases. This is clearly a Metro Detroit crisis, not a Michigan crisis.

Why then would you blanket the entire state with smothering restrictions unless you intend to suffocate our economy?

Thomas Sowell once remarked, "It is so easy to be wrong ― and to persist in being wrong ― when the costs of being wrong are paid by others." It is even easier when the rulers are exempt from their own rules. 

Some of us folks in the private sector certainly are fools, but we can still spot a foolish idea when we see it. And the vast majority of us know how to look out for ourselves better than any government bureaucrat can. 

Darrin Moore, Grosse Ile

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