The Michigan Department of Treasury is raking up a debt profile of over $372,000 on a prison inmate who just published a book. Curtis Dawkins, serving a life sentence for robbery and murder earned $150,000 advance payment for publishing a book from prison. Now the Michigan government is dusting up their law books and demanding for 90% of Dawkins money as incarceration costs.
Having spent about 12 years behind bars, Dawkins, who is incarcerated at Lakeland Correctional Facility in Coldwater, Michigan, had always been a writer. He began writing while in college, before graduating as an English major at Southern Illinois University.
He thereafter completed a graduate writing program at Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo. He met his partner with whom he has three children, Kimberly Knutsen, at Kalamazoo. Knutsen currently teaches English at Concordia University in Portland, Oregon. Her three children are:
- Henry, 23
- Elijah, 19
- Lily Rose, 17
Dawkins Parents Gave Him a Typewriter and a Literary Agent Landed Him a Book Deal
Following his conviction and imprisonment, Dawkins began to pen fiction stories to take his mind off his life condemnation. He began mailing his stories to his sister after his parents sent him a typewriter in prison.
His sister on the other hand submitted the stories to small journals in town, and this was how they landed on the desk of Jarrett Haley, publisher of Bull, a small literary magazine. Haley edited the stories and combined them into a collection before landing an agent, Sandra Dijkstra.
Dijkstra marketed the collection of stories to Scribner in 2016. And then Scribner offered Dawkins a book deal with $150,000 advance. The author gave Haley a portion of the money for helping with the book deal.
The remaining amount of about $50,000, Dawkins asked to be put in his parents’ LLC company. This is in addition to funds sent to family to take care of children school fees, feeding, housing, dental and car payments.
Dawkins Will Be Heading To Court After Michigan Says He Must Lose All to the State
Dawkins is due to collect the final payment for his book this spring when it comes out in paperback edition. But this may no longer be possible with the intervention of the Michigan government.
Michigan is one of the US states that compel prisoners to pay for incarceration costs if they ever come into any inheritance or generate massive incomes from inside prison. Michigan’s attorney general says 49-year-old Dawkins should lose up to 90% of his financial windfall to pay for his incarceration.
In a lawsuit filed against Dawkins, the state demands that Dijkstra suspend further due payments from Scribner. Michigan is also limiting a monthly allowance of $200 to $300 which Dawkin’s family sends to only a stipend of $25.
The prisoner uses the monthly allowance to buy paper for his typewriter, pay for emails and phone calls, as well as snacks. Dawkins, who is representing himself, says he will be challenging the development in court.