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Wolverine Boot Camp

By Lisa Brody
News Editor
Wolverine Boot Camp
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06/30/2014 - Ralph Kinney has a dream of helping those who've gotten themselves into trouble with the law to redeem themselves, placing short-term offenders into an academic boot camp where they could attain academic and career services, wellness and substance abuse prevention courses, and behavior modification.

He has been working with the state of Michigan to achieve that goal, and has sought to place his first boot camp on a site in Pontiac in Oakland County near the Bloomfield Township border. While that site recently fell through, he is looking at other Oakland County locations.

Officials in Oakland County government, however, want nothing to do with it.

Kinney is a former assistant Wayne County executive and deputy chief at the Wayne County Sheriff's Department, who was fired by county executive Robert Ficano in 2007, allegedly for reporting the illegal usage of county money and for refusing to campaign for Ficano. He filed a whistleblower lawsuit against Ficano in 2010, alleging corruption and cronyism, and claimed he was owed $50,000 in back pay and other damages. Kinney lost the lawsuit, as well as its appeal. Today, according to his LinkedIn page, Kinney is an experienced investigator and entrepreneur. Since January 2011, he has been chief executive officer of the Wolverine Campus Project.

While Kinney did not return numerous calls left for him by Downtown Publications, Nancy Mouradian, who said she is acting as the communications director for the Wolverine Campus Project, said it is "still in its infancy, which would be an academic boot camp for non-violent offenders." She affirmed the architects for the project were Kinney and the late Dr. Arthur M. Carter.

According to the white paper, first created in November 2013, which Mouradian said former Macomb County Prosecutor Carl Marlinga (now a probate court judge in Macomb County) helped craft, the Wolverine Campus Project is an academic boot camp designed to divert short-term offenders from prison to a secure on-campus, 24/7, residential private facility, for those who have been sentenced to terms of under 24 months. The boot camp would offer education and career training, thereby creating new taxpayers, Kinney asserted in the paper.

The proposal stated that those eligible would be short-term felons who may qualify for up to 12 months of academic and career services. The Wolverine Campus Project would hypothetically offer everyone entering the facility, within their first 10 days, diagnostic testing in digital literacy courses, in wellness and substance abuse prevention courses; behavior management and ethics-based behavioral courses; work study and/or apprenticeships; and based upon individual assessments, special education towards high school completion; general education towards high school completion; and S.T.E.M. (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) college courses.

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