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Politics

Michigan prison inmates will no longer be able to receive hand made birthday cards under new rules

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The Michigan Department of Corrections is instituting new rules around inmate mail to stop the inflow of drugs.

New rules will restrict everything from handmade birthday cards to perfume scented letters.

Chris Gautz is the spokesperson for the Michigan Department of Corrections. He said the rules will keep drugs from being smuggled into prisons.

“The biggest thing that we’re trying to combat is a drug called suboxone, a drug that is supposed to treat opioid withdrawal. It’s not something that is used in the prisons, it is something that comes in the mail.”

Gautz said the drug can be disguised in what look like crayon drawings.

“Sometimes they take coloring books and they color in the coloring page with something that looks like something a child drew for their father or their mother but really it’s done with drugs.”

Korbin Felder is with the American Friends Service Committee, a prisoner advocacy group. He said the ban will hit prisoners with kids hardest.

“Children often times will send letters to their incarcerated parents. They are kids so often times they draw in colored pencils or crayons things like that. Things like that that won’t be permitted will definitely have an adverse effect.”

And, said Felder, the restrictions unfairly punish the entire inmate population.

“We think the entire population is being punished for the actions of the few which is only going to make things more intense inside.”

The rules are similar to ones adopted in other states.

The rules take effect October 1st.