Alarmed residents organize community meeting to share frustrations with the ban on letters for inmates at the county jail and ideas on how to change the policy.

Muskegon, M1– Sheriff Roesler has banned letter correspondence at the Muskegon County Jail, limiting inmates’ correspondence to standard-sized postcards. The new policy went into effect in the beginning of February, 2011. One concerned community member, Toby Fraser, says: “We will not stand for this blatant mistreatment of inmates and their loved ones.” Individuals in the Muskegon community will come together at a community meeting on Saturday, March 26th, to discuss the next steps in a campaign to reverse the postcard-only policy.

Muskegon County Jail
Muskegon County Jail

“The people and communities most affected by this absurd and unconstitutional new change were never consulted. The Sheriff has said that he and others within his department have been researching this policy for three years, yet he has never talked to his constituents about this policy nor called community members together to share their opinions in a public forum. And he’s supposed to be accountable to the people,” says Emma Murphy-Ellis.

Concerned community members have stated that they are firm in their stance and will not concede. “Every inmate has the right to confidential correspondence with family and ones they love,” contends Nell Schaefer of Muskegon. She continues: “Over 300 people have already signed a petition asking the Sheriff to bring letters back, many have attended the County Commission meetings to voice their disapproval, and over 60 people have called in to express their discontent with Sheriff Roesler personally. It’s time the Sheriff heeded the voices and wishes of the people that put him in office.”

The community meeting is an open invitation event. It will be held Saturday, March 26th, 2011, at the McMurray Center, 2624 6th St. from 4-6pm. Food and childcare will be provided.