A shameful story made its way out of the Michigan prison system and into the media three years ago today.
Timothy Joe Souders, mentally ill prisoner only 21 years of age, died in 100-degree temperatures, after spending most of the last four days of his life chained naked in a steel bed, lying in his own urine.
He was alone in a hot, segregated cell in the Southern Michigan Correctional Facility of Jackson, Michigan. Like some of the mentally ill prisoners of today, he was merely a boy inside a man's body, and had no business being in prison.
Police agencies and the judicial system should have known that this lovable kid, when he was on his meds, couldn't survive in a prison system. Yet an officer stunned him with a taser when arresting him for assault. After he was taken to jail, he stabbed himself in the stomach seven times with a knife that the jailers had missed. Then he tried to hang himself with a noose made with his prison clothing. Seems like someone might have come to the conclusion that this lad had some mental issues. And yet a judge sentenced him to 1-4 years in the state prison system for assault, resisting arrest and destroying police property. It turned out to be a death sentence.
Tim died three years ago today, hot, thirsty, screaming for help...but no one was listening.
Our hearts go out to Tim's mom, and our friend, Theresa Vaughn. Say a prayer for her today.
Our pledge goes out to all who support HFP: We will be diligent in continuing the fight on behalf of the mentally ill in our Michigan prison system. Send your contribution today.
Doug Tjapkes, President
HUMANITY FOR PRISONERS
P.O. Box 687
Grand Haven, MI 49417