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Posted on Mon, Dec 27, 2010 : 2:51 p.m.

State Police investigate apparent suicide at Huron Valley women's prison in Pittsfield Township

By Cindy Heflin

A 34-year-old woman serving a 30-to-50-year sentence for murder was found dead in her cell with a plastic bag over her head this morning at the Huron Valley Correctional Facility in Pittsfield Township, the Detroit News reported.

Brandy Powell was found in her bed at 1:10 a.m., according to Michigan Department of Corrections spokesman Russ Marlan, The News said. State Police are investigating.

The apparent suicide comes nearly two months after prison officials thwarted a suicide attempt by a woman who tried to hang herself. That attempt came after prison officials discovered a suicide pact among more than 10 inmates and brought in extra patrols.

On Oct. 8, 25-year-old Amber Marie McIntyre-Roden was found hanging by a sheet in her cell, The News said.



Sat, Mar 23, 2013 : 3:16 a.m.

So so sad .. my daughter is currenty serving time at HVCF trust me these suicides are not the results of the outcome of the sentencings the suicides are a result of how cruel, inhuman and crooked the guards are . After reading the artical and how the staff is trained to identify symptoms of depression and possible risk of suicidal prisoners this is a total lie . 99% of those guards are the cause of suicides . I and my daughter currently have a lawsuit against one of the guards V. Davis who performed a routine shakedown strip search mind you strip searches are to be done inside the cells well this said guard had my daughter out of her cell in front other guards and inmates and physically pulled my daughter's pants down in front of other guards and inmates as they all laughed at my daughter . And another incident last week caught on video my daughter had her hand hanging outside the slot of the cell/room door and this said guard. L Dean grabbed my daughter's arm with such physical force and twisted her arm and shoved it back in the door slot which caused a deep cut and gash in my daughter's arm .. So trust me these guards are not there to be your advocate or to help you when needed and as for the suicides you can bet they are done with assistance of other prisoners while the just turn their backs .... Yes this prison will be investigated Trust me


Mon, Jan 3, 2011 : 1:49 p.m.

I found this to be horrible to say the least. I have a relative in the prison who knew this person. My relative has been so dramatically changed by this situation. I understand doing the crime, you do the time... BUT, if anyone could really see how these prisons are.. they barely get to eat... they are treated like crap by guards, when have of them smuggle drugs in anyways! its messed up... there are people who deserve to be there and deserve to be treated like animals.. people who kill children, hurt children or whatever the case is in serious issues such as this... Its horrible. I feel terrible for this family, because I see how these guards and officers are. Racist to say the least... and I think Michigan needs to start doing thorough investigations not only on prisoner incidents, but also the people who work there. It's disgusting.


Mon, Dec 27, 2010 : 9:08 p.m.

Malorie, you are very tactful in your explanation to Denise, and a much more diplomatic (nicer) explainer than I would be. Once I went to the womens' prison to visit an old high school pal who had gotten mixed up with drugs and the wrong man. It was an eye-opening experience for me. For my friend, a proud, intelligent person, it was demoralizing to say the least. My condolences to the family of Brandy Powell, may she rest in peace.


Mon, Dec 27, 2010 : 7:19 p.m.

denise, it is all relative, and having some of the necessities of life and a few very minor perks does not cure depression. With the holidays this month, it's even harder emotionally for prisoners. The very nature of being incarcerated, with very strict social controls, is not exactly natural and can be extremely hard on some people no matter what the crime. There is actually a name for it, it was identified by Wilhelm Durkheim: fatalistic suicide.


Mon, Dec 27, 2010 : 7:05 p.m.

denise, Prisons are a place to stick the mentally ill.It is the greatest shame that in America we are clueless as to how to care for mentally ill so we throw them in prison and turn our heads. Studies show 16%-30% of people in prison are mentally ill. There are no sanitariums.


Mon, Dec 27, 2010 : 6:52 p.m.

Amazing that someone who has food, water, shelter and even occasional TV would take their lives... unless their sentence was so severe and unfair? I would try to determine the judgements that incarcerated them. A bounced check, or defense against an angry spouse? If they have mental problems they should not be in jail but in a sanitorium.


Mon, Dec 27, 2010 : 5:57 p.m.

So very sad.....


Mon, Dec 27, 2010 : 4:20 p.m.

I just don't see how bringing in extra patrols is going to lessen the desire of these women to end their lives.


Mon, Dec 27, 2010 : 4:15 p.m.

Cindy, It would be great if you could do a story about the prison visit/ministry program at St Francis here in Ann Arbor. Here is the website: Not to get preachy, but to me, all lives have value. I would imagine that there are many other visit type programs run by local churches also. Sometimes people just need another human to care.