A scene from Orange is the New Black, featuring a group of female inmates in an overcrowded prison.
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Overcrowding in the Women’s Huron Valley Facility Causing Harm

What is happening at the WHV correctional facility located near Ypsilanti is against the US Constitution. It is unusual and cruel punishment.

According to experts, locking up inmates in Michigan’s a women’s prison in Huron Valley is sentencing them to unusual and cruel punishment. According to them, what is happening in the facility near Ypsilanti is against the constitution.

Challenges Experienced by Inmates in the Women’s Huron Valley Correctional Facility

  • It is full-to-capacity and extremely overcrowded
  • There are leaking roofs
  • Lacks space for exercise and recreation
  • Has very poor ventilation

The Effects of the Poor Conditions at WHV

According to reports filed in the Detroit Federal Court, such poor conditions have led to:

  • Mental issues like depression
  • An increase in the number of suicide attempts
  • An increase in the number of violent incidences
  • Lack of proper clothing for the inmates
  • Improper medical attention

First Step Act: Does It Actually Bring Value to the Lives of Prisoners?

Artificial Capacity Inflation of the Correction Facility

The overcrowding issue has inmates packed in converted rooms and former closets. The overcrowding issue has been dismissed by the Corrections Department.

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The department says the prison’s capacity in Women’s Huron Valley is lower than the recommended capacity by 2,400 inmates.

On the hand, prisoners’ attorneys claim the capacity has been inflated artificially since 2010. The inflation is more than 500 spaces were created by adding cells inside existing walls. This has been:

  • Storage rooms
  • Program areas
  • TV/recreation rooms
  • Day rooms

All of this space for the prisoners was taken away and converted into cells.

A scene from Orange is the New Black, featuring a group of female inmates in an overcrowded prison.
Orange is the New Black (screenshot above) has covered the topic of overcrowded prisons, highlighting exactly why overfilling prisons with inmates is such an important issue to discuss. Image Source: Rewire.News

The state’s prison population dropped by at least 12,000 from 2007.  This led to the closure of several prisons for men. The women incarceration rates are on the rise.

The Women’s Huron Valley population has increased over the years. Today, the facility is bursting at its seams according to Lynn Shecter, a Birmingham prisoners’ attorney.

A Prison Architect Weighs In On the “Expansion” at WHV

Randy Atlas, an architect in Florida, says the architectural rules had been violated when they artificially expanding the facility. The architect specializes in prison design. He said the facility did not obtain permits.

The facility did not use architectural plans. Ventilation was not taken into consideration. The Ypsilanti facility violated the American Correctional Association about spacing standards.

Atlas said the WHV has deprived the inmates of the basic life necessities. In his report, Atlas noticed an increase in violent incidences. The incidences increased from 21 to 74 in 2010 to 2015, respectively.

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Overcrowding at WHV = Breakdown in Inmates

A clinical psychologist, Ellen Koch, interviewed some of the female inmates in the facility. She confirmed the overcrowding issue causes depression and other mental issues. The psychologist added the issue is responsible for the increase in cases of suicide attempts and violent incidences.

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Koch noted that the mental issues are caused by:

  • Excessive levels of noise
  • Inadequate access to personal needs
  • Inadequate space
  • Lack of access to classes
  • Inadequate food for everyone

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Abigael Shem
Abigael Shem has eight years of experience in academic, content, research and creative writing, editing and proofreading. Developing any type of content is now an easy task for her. When she's not writing, she enjoys singing, dancing, hiking, traveling and sports, especially football and basketball. Abigael currently writes news for prison loved ones on Prison Rideshare Network.