After spending more than half his life behind bars, George Mullins can tick off what he sees as sorely needed programs: economic literacy, conflict resolution, learning how to recognize trauma and triggers, connecting with family, positive reinforcement.

It’s too easy to languish otherwise, watching each year roll by like heavy fog.

A quote from Bryan Stevenson, president of the Equal Justice Initiative, struck a chord: “You are more than the worst thing you’ve ever done.”

We cannot create a system that serves people adequately—people suffering from trauma, people who are victims of violence themselves—we can’t serve them if we’re not listening to them. Not just listening to them, but centering them.



More prisoners to be tested for COVID-19 with help from Michigan National Guard.

Starting Monday, Michigan National Guard medical personnel will visit the six prisons in the Upper Peninsula to help the Michigan Department of Corrections conduct mass testing of the inmates.

There are about 7,500 inmates in those correctional facilities. In a news release, MDOC Director Heidi Washington indicated she was grateful for the help from the National Guard.

“Their assistance will allow us to accelerate our plans for testing our population which will help us keep our staff, prisoners and the public safe,” she said in the statement. Two corrections staff members have died because of COVID-19.

There’s been a recent spike in positive cases of COVID-19 within the state’s prison population. According to a report from the Department of Corrections, 1,997 cases have been confirmed of 4,353 prisoners tested. The total inmate population in Michigan is about 38,000.

So far, at least 41 prisoners have died because of COVID-19.