18 Ojibway prisoners transferred after fights
By RALPH ANSAMI
Marenisco — Eighteen prisoners were transferred out of the Ojibway Correctional Facility after six different fights broke out.
Deputy warden Mike Yon recapped the events of Aug. 17 at a Sept. 8 quarterly meeting of the OCF’s Community Liaison Committee.
Yon said the fights occurred over a 42-minute period and involved “multiple prisoners,” according to administrative assistant Micki Sorensen’s minutes of the committee meeting.
A total of 26 misconduct violations were written for 25 prisoners and 18 were transferred to a higher level security prison the same night as the skirmishes.
Sorensen said Wednesday no charges arose out of the fights, only the transfers.
Yon commended prison staff members, saying every department helped out in one way or another. He said Tasers and personal chemical agents carried by officers “were a great deterrent to assist staff so this did not escalate into an unmanageable situation.”
In a recap of the committee meeting, Sorensen said it appeared as if the fights involved prisoners from Flint against those from Detroit.
There are currently 212 employees at Ojibway and 1,140 prisoners at the facility. There are 19 job vacancies at the prison, including 14 officer positions.
Yon updated the committee on a $1.3 million security enhancement digital camera system that will result in three times as many cameras as are being used now. He said it will result in better prisoner tracking and a higher quality picture system.
There was good news in the quarterly report relating to a 30-day assignment in which a group of prisoners helped clean up the Porcupine Mountains State Park following July 11 storm damage.
The prisoners were praised for the work they did to repair a bridge, walkways and create earthen steps so visitors could regain access to Lake Superior at the park.
“The projects would have cost taxpayers an exorbitant amount of money had the prisoners not been utilized to complete the tasks,” Sorensen said in her report.
For one bridge, Ojibway prisoners had to carry equipment and materials in four miles to the site.
The committee heard from Yon that he is pleased that Gogebic County Prosecuting Attorney Nick Jacobs has been proactive in prosecuting prisoners involved with weapons and contraband since he has been on the job.