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MDOC now offering video option for prisoners attending funeral services

DATE: Nov. 29, 2021

Contact: Chris Gautz

(517) 256-3790


MDOC now offering video option for prisoners attending funeral services

New policy goes into effect today

Lansing, Mich. - Prisoners in Michigan whose immediate family members pass away will have a new option available to them, by now being able to attend the funeral service virtually through a video connection at the prison.

"Any death is tragic and a cause of great sadness that only compounds when you are not able to pay your final respects with your family," MDOC Director Heidi Washington said. "While these individuals have broken the law, they are still human beings and helping them to maintain connections to family and to the community that most will someday return to are important steps to long-term public safety."

While incarcerated individuals do not have a right to have an in-person or video funeral visit, wardens will ensure efforts are made to allow a prisoner to view the funeral of an immediate family member via video when possible.

Once the prisoner has received approval, the video viewing will take place in an area that allows the prisoner to have privacy from other prisoners. A facility employee will also be present to monitor the viewing at all times.

The prisoner's security level will not preclude them from attending the video funeral viewing.

Previously, in-person funeral visits were only available to lower security level prisoners. And can only take place if there are off-duty staff interested in volunteering to work and the prisoner, or prisoner's family have to pay all escort costs including salary, benefits, travel and any other costs incurred.

This will come at no expense to the department or taxpayers as if the funeral home or vendor conducting the service charges for recording the service, the prisoner or the prisoner's family will be responsible for the cost.

The revised policy goes into effect today.