Detroit — Prison inmate Kwame Kilpatrick has qualified for a boot camp program that could get him out of his 1 1/2 – to 5-year sentence in as little as 90 days.
But the former mayor and Wayne Circuit Judge David Groner would have to agree to Kilpatrick’s diversion from a
private cell in a segregation unit at the Oaks Correctional Facility near Manistee, into the state’s physically and psychologically intensive four-month program designed to break an inmate’s criminal mindset.
“The Michigan Department of Corrections has indicated Kwame Kilpatrick is not the kind of individual that belongs in that kind of setting, but he qualified for it based on his testing,” said Kilpatrick’s lawyer Arnold Reed. “The Michigan Department of Corrections sent this recommendation to Judge Groner, and the last I heard, it was sitting on his desk.”
Reed said the message to Groner from prison officials asks for his opinion, but does not necessarily recommend Kilpatrick for the Special Alternative Incarceration program.
The military-style training camp at the state’s 400-bed Cassidy Lake Facility near Chelsea “strips from participants their pride in socially unacceptable behavior,” according to Department of Corrections literature. Guards act like drill sergeants, yelling at inmates, requiring strict discipline, rigid military-style behavior and vigorous physical exercise — including a daily run and menial labor.
Age cap dropped in ’95
The program, which includes a 30-day community placement after the camp, was created in 1988 for young offenders. In 1995, state legislators dropped the age cap, allowing inmates over 25 to participate. The special program is the only method under state law to short-circuit the 1998 Truth in Sentencing Act that requires prisoners to serve at least their minimum sentences.
To qualify for boot camp, prisoners must be within three years of their earliest release date, be physically and mentally fit, and their crimes can’t involve death, arson, illegal sexual conduct, or anything for which there was a possible life sentence.
Almost 2,000 inmates every year are moved quickly back into society from Cassidy Lake, a relief to the state’s overcrowded prison system.
“There is no huge advantage to qualify for boot camp,” Reed said Wednesday. “It is extremely rigorous. It’s no cake walk.”
Kilpatrick, a former college football player who turned 40 on Tuesday, stands 6 feet 4 inches tall and weighs 310 pounds.
“It is something I would have to talk to him about and get his perspective on it,” Reed said. “This Special Alternative Incarceration is not for everyone. It’s for individuals who qualify, but it also is rigorous. I don’t know what shape he’s in, what his blood pressure is, what his heart rate is. And it would only happen with approval of the judge.”