Prison Life

Print versions of our Defender Books, Criminal Defense Newsletters, and Manuals can be purchased separately or in addition to any web-based product plan. Full information and pricing can be found and purchased visiting our Products Page. Questions? Call Heather Waara at 313-256-9833 or email

Michigan Department of Corrections:

SADO is pleased to provide the Defender Guide for Attorneys: Policies and Procedures of the Michigan Department of Corrections Manual, a comprehensive manual with information and advice to help you navigate your client through all aspects of life in prison. This 104-page manual covers topics from intake and programming, daily life, medical needs, visits from friends and family members, to parole and much more. Authored by Assistant Defender Jessica Zimbelman, the Guide blends unique insight from her prior experience with the Legislative Corrections Ombudsman with her holistic approach to lawyering at SADO.


The Defender Guide to Michigan’s Commutation Process Manual is written by Frank Rodriguez, a Paralegal with SADO since 2011. This guide offers unique insight into a complicated process unknown to many. Prior to his employment with SADO, Mr. Rodriguez was a former inmate in the Michigan Department of Corrections and served many years in prison before successfully preparing his own commutation application. At that time, Mr. Rodriguez saw a need for a Guide to navigate the process and none existed prior to this publication. The Defender Guide to Michigan’s Commutation Process explains all relevant constitutional provisions, statutes, administrative rules and policy directives while providing helpful tips throughout to write a successful application.

For Families and Friends of Incarcerated Individuals:

What happens after your loved one has been convicted of a crime? We welcome you to attend a Family and Friends Informational Session to learn more about appeals and life after incarceration. Access the information packet prepared by SADO’s Client and Public Outreach Committee, which addresses the following topics:

  • The process of a criminal appeal
  • Visiting a prison (policies of the MDOC)
  • Communicating with an prisoner of the MDOC
  • Basic resources for prisoners and their loved ones

Child Support While Incarcerated in Michigan:

For Michigan parents who are incarcerated, please see this Child Support Packet detailing the parent's obligations along with tips, contact information and a form motion to suspend payments.

Preparing for Parole:

Parole Preparation Packet