The decision to close Ryan Correctional Facility in Detroit, Michigan is devastating on multiple accords and such action would damage not only the men within the prison but Detroit as a whole. Through multiple studies there have been two proven ways to reduce recidivism and increase positive behavior. One being regular visits from family and friends while in prison and the second being strong prison programs. Ryan correctional facility not only offers but excels in achieving both of these things.
The large majority of Ryan inmates are residents of Detroit and receive visits from family, friends, clergy, and community members on a frequent basis. Ryan inmates are able to maintain relationships and support systems that they can turn to upon being released. Moving the Ryan men to upstate prisons would prevent many of these support systems from visiting due to financial restrictions and the fact that over 25% of Detroit families do not own a vehicle. Closing Ryan would mean taking husbands away from wives, brothers away from sisters, and parents away from their children. If we care at all about the children of Detroit then we should give them a chance to build and maintain relationships with their fathers.
The children of the incarcerated are not the only ones that will hurt with the closing of Ryan Correctional Facility. Ryan inmates have started the “The Youth Deterrent Program,” a lifesaving program where prisoners speak honestly to at risk youth. By listening to these young men, offering compassion and understanding while at the same time explaining about the consequences of living a life of crime, they transform young men in Detroit from dangerous liabilities to a productive asset. This program has served youth from across the state and not a single participant was a criminal re-offender.
Finally, it is without a doubt that closing Ryan will eliminate a significant number of jobs within the Detroit Area. At a time when Detroit is going through such great hardships I urge you to think twice about a decision that will eliminate jobs, increase recidivism and tear families and communities apart. We are positive that when you do, you will come to the same conclusion as we have: closing Ryan means shutting down the only chance that people have to heal and connect despite incarceration and crime and in doing so create a better future for Detroit.