Read this compelling story of a nonviolent prisoner who was turned down for a commutation that would have allowed him to die at home. Thomas Whiteaker’s cancer is terminal and family members say he likely has fewer than two years to live, even with chemotherapy.

“He should have the dignity to die with his family holding his hand,” his sister told the LSJ.”  But instead:

Cancer-stricken inmate Thomas Whiteaker recently received the same answer as nearly all prisoners who have asked Gov. Rick Snyder to commute their sentences:


The Republican governor’s tough stance against releasing prisoners early has halted what was, by comparison, a flood of commutations by his Democratic predecessor, Jennifer Granholm.

Since taking over in 2011, Snyder has commuted the sentences of three prisoners — one his first year and two in 2012, according to the Michigan Department of Corrections. . . .

CAPPS has the solution:

Barbara Levine, CAPPS associate director of research and policy, noted that CAPPS  “is trying to get a medical parole law passed in Michigan that would give the parole board authority to release prisoners who are physically or mentally incapacitated. A medical parole law is on the books but was trumped by state’s truth-in-sentencing law and needs to be reinstated.