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May 08, 1981 - Image 13

Resource type:
Michigan Daily, 1981-05-08

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The MichiganDaily-Friday, May 8, 1981-Page 13
Guards'labor protest continues

LANSING (UPI)-Southern
Michigan Prison guards say they are
spread dangerously thin and warn
more labor trouble may lie ahead for
the world's largest walled prison if
their complaints are not resolved.
About 35 to 40 evening shift guards at
from Lane
(Continued from Page 11)
made for lamentation. Further, Lane is
not content merely to croon; her vocals
display an instinctive feel for the mood
of the music, threading in lilting em-
phasis and glib accusation with pin-
point accuracy.
ALL OF these qualities came off bet-
ter live than they do on vinyl, especially
the tunes from the hideously-produced
new LP Imitation Life. The Char-
tbusters are never going to challenge
Talking Heads for innovation, or even
fellow Bostonians Human Sexual
Response, but it was a relief to find the
new songs not nearly so smothered and
flat as the album implied.
"Idiot,." for which the tumult
clamored, came across as more of a
soulful sadrifice than a tsk-tsk self-
depreciation, while "What the People
Are Doing" was punchier and less
faithful to its title than the LP version.
The older tunes were closer to the pep-
py soulfulness of the first album, which
was just fine by me. "It'll Only Hurt a
Little While While" and "I Don't Want
to Know" were more emphatic than
their album versions, giving a floor full
of dancers jerkier and less doleful
rhythms to shake to.
It was uniformly a Robin Lane show,
which is fortunate since opening act
Flirt wasn't much help. The Detroit-
based band is sort of a Van Halen-meets
-the-Pretenders proposition with little
talent and less charisma who have
already gotten more space than they
deserve. Prism Productions' attempt to
expose local acts is laudable, but so far
it isn't working out to anyone's advan-
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the Jackson prison refused to report to
their posts at the regular 2 p.m. starting
time Wednesday and instead stood
around a lobby area for about 15
minutes to protest what they consider
to be inadequate staffing.
THE PROTEST, described as minor,
ended when Warden Barry Mintzes met
with officials of the guards' union, the
Michigan Corrections Organization, to
discuss the situation. New talks were
scheduled for today.
"I'm not sure how it's going to be
resolved," said Gail Light, a
spokeswoman for the state Corrections
Department. "The meeting tomorrow
will give us an idea of that," she said
Tom Stahl, a union official, said it is
reasonable to expect more labor unrest
at the prison if the matter is not
resolved. The guards cannot legally

LIGHT SAID the officers' complaints
apparently center on a policy requiring
that one of the guards assigned to each
cellblock accompany prisoners when
they go to lunch, leaving only two
behind. Each cellblock has 300 to 400
prisoners when full,
Stahl charged the department has
been unable to meet its own minimum
staffing requirements for Jackson as a
result of budget cuts which have forced
reduced hiring and limits on overtime.
"Their main concern is for their own
safety-it's a legitimate concern," he
said, adding the union does not believe
the minimum staffing standard is
adequate even if it is met.
Light denied the charge.
Neither was aware of any upsurge in
attacks on guards, although Light con-
ceded that violence among prisoners,
especially knifings, is on the increase in
the prison, filled to slightly over its

capacity of 5,133.
She attributed the increase to
frustration among prisoners no longer
eligible for good behavior sentence
reductions and a classification system
which places the most hardened in-
mates at Jackson.
The Michigan Supreme Court is
weighing the constitutionality of a law
designed to ease overcrowding through
early release of prisoners.
Light saidrthe only otherrecent
protests by prison guards have taken
place at the psychiatric unit of the
Riverside Correctional Facility in

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