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Video option to be offered for prisoners attending funeral services

The prisoner’s security level will not prohibit them from attending the video funeral viewing.
MDOC prisoners now have the option to attending funeral services via video.
MDOC prisoners now have the option to attending funeral services via video.(Gray News, file)
Published: Nov. 29, 2021 at 9:44 AM EST
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LANSING, Mich. (WILX) - Michigan prisoners whose immediate family members pass away have a new option available, by 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,” Michigan Department of Corrections (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.”

Though incarcerated individuals do not have a right to have an in-person or video funeral visit, wardens will ensure efforts are made to permit a prisoner to view the funeral of an immediate family member via video whenever 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. However, a facility employee will be present to monitor the viewing at all times.

The prisoner’s security level will not prohibit them from attending the video funeral viewing. Previously, in-person funeral visits were only accessible to lower security level prisoners.

This new option 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 on Nov. 29.

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