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July 14, 1976 - Image 7

Resource type:
Michigan Daily, 1976-07-14

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WNednesday, July 14, 1976


Doge Seven

Ferency seeks end to crowded prisons

LANSING (UP) - Controver-
sial attorney Zolton Ferency is
trying to use a little known pro-
vision in a law he helped write
to force the state to stop accept-
ing new prisoners in its over-
crowded prisons.
By The Associated Press
Conventional cardiac pace-
makers, which depend on bat-
teries for their energy, someday
may be replaced by a perma-
nent model, powered by the
body's own energy.
Scientists at the University
of Missouri - Columbia and
Massachusetts General Hospi-
tal say the new system, if per-
fected, would eliminate the
need for repeated and often
costly surgery to replace the
standard artificial batteries.
The new device is expected
to cost no more than a conven-
tional pacemaker, about $1,500,
and would weigh about half as
ALLEN HAHN, a biomedical
engineer at Missouri, says al-
though the model probably
won't be ready for human ex-
perimentation for another five
years, animal tests have prov-
en successful.
"I would say probably an-
other set of long - term ani-
mal experiments is needed be-
fore human transplantation can
be considered," Hahn said in a
recent interview.
About 300,000 persons in the
world are being kept alive by
artificial pacemakers attached
to the walls of their hearts,
statistics show. The vast ma-
jority of those using pacemak-
ers require additional surgery
to replace the worn out bat-
The new device, called a hy-
brid biogalvanic cell, would
eliminate the need for the sec-
ond and sometimes third opera-
tion for battery replacement,
Hahn said.
THE PRINCIPLE behind the
new pacemaker turns the body
into a human battery. Two
electrodes, one zinc and the
other platinum, create a chem-
ical reaction within the body.
The platinum reacts with the
body's natural chemicals, which
in torn causes oxygen to move
from one electrode to the other.
That movement creates elec-
trical current.
Everyone has a natural pace-
maker, an area of tissue in the
upper right portion of the
heart. When it fails to send im-
pulses at consistent intervals
and at sufficiently powerful
levels, an artificial pacemaker
is needed.
The current created by the
chemical reaction in the new
device imitates nature's pace-
maker and sends new, regular
impulses to the heart through
tiny wires.
The Flood Control Act en-
acted by Congress in 1928, fol-
lwing the great Mississippi
flood of 1927, appropriated $325
million for levee work in the
Mississippi Valley over a 10-
year period.

Ferency plans to file a suit in
Ingham County Circuit Court
today on behalf of the Human
Rights Party seeking a judg-
ment that the state prisons are
overcrowded and that state
Corrections Department Direc-
tor Perry Johnson has the
authority to refuse. to accept
new prisoners and to release
some current inmates.
IN A MAY 20 letter, Ferency
asked Johnson to declare that
continued admission of prison-
ers would contribute to a
crowding problem that consti-
tutes "cruel and unusual" pun-
ishment of prisoners.
At present, there are about
11,800 prisoners in a system de-
signed for 10,800. Ferency said
as a result of the overcrowding,

prisoners are forced to sleep in
cots in hallways of some prisons
and at others, are held in maxi-
mum security cells even though
they are not supposed to be re-
ceiving punishment.
Ferency wrote the letter in
accordance with the terms of
the state's 1969 administrative
procedure act which allows any
interested citizens to challenge
the rules and procedures of
state agencies.
FERENCY, who was on the
state bar association committee
which drafted the act, said the
section of the law he is now
using was designed to give citi-
zens some influence over the
state bureaucracy.
He said although he has used
the law frequently in recent

years, few people are aware it
He used the act successfully
in a case challenging the right
of the State Police to maintain
files on legal political activities,
but it did not work in an effort
to end the state subsidy for the
Pontiac Stadium.
FERENCY decided to file suit
against the Corrections Depart-
ment 'Saturday when he re-
ceived a letter from Johnson
saying he had been advised by
the Attorney General's office
that he could not refuse to ac-
cept new inmates.
Ferency noted a somewhat
similar case challenging over-
crowding in the Wayne County
Jail was successful, and Cor-
rections Department officials

concede that case could easily
go the same way.
He said if his suit is
successful, judges would simply
have to grant probation in more
cases and agree to the early
release of prisoners who are
not dangerous. The department
has already started such an
early release program.
FERENCY, who once ran for
governor as a Democrat, said
he does not go along with those
who say the department's
major problem is a lack of
funds to build needed new
"I'm opposed to building
more prisons," he said. "There
are far too many people in pri-
sons now who don't belong

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