Points North, Ep. 29: Innocent until proven guilty

Sep 12, 2019

This week on Points North, we dive into how the state is trying to help underpaid and overworked court-appointed attorneys. Plus a former employee of the Traverse City State Hospital reflects on 30 years on the job.

Trials and tribulations of court-appointed attorneys in Michigan
Jason Razavi is a court-appointed attorney in Grand Traverse County.
Credit Max Johnston / Interlochen Public Radio

Court-appointed attorneys defend people who can’t pay for a lawyer of their own. But the state didn’t give those attorneys a fair shot to defend their clients, according to the ACLU.

That means more convictions and harsher sentences that could have been avoided, says the ACLU. Now more funding and training for those lawyers is meant to balance the scales.

Hear how the state is trying to help out underpaid and overworked public defenders.

Unsentenced and behind bars: pastor talks jail overpopulation
Credit FLICKR

The director of Before During After Incarceration Tom Bousamra says the increased population behind bars has created inhumane conditions at the jails, broken up families and led to high recidivism rates. 

The organization is holding an educational event for the public at the Central United Methodist Church on Oct. 3.

Less state hospitals mean more people on the street, former administrator says
The former Traverse City State Hospital.
Credit The Village at Grand Traverse Commons

The Traverse City State Hospital was a psychiatric facility that closed in 1989. Peg Wagner worked as an administrator in the 1940s, and says the world was better off with the asylum in business.

Red Pine Radio producer Stewart McFerran has been interviewing former employees of the hospital. Find his other interviews here.