Monday, March 23, 2009

Hidanovic update

This brief email exchange is for all of our supporters who have asked that we keep them informed on the Mevludin Hidanovic case. He's the Bosnian man who was wrongly convicted in North Dakota, but because he was not a US citizen, the feds then decided to deport him. His wife Chanda, and their four children, are US citizens, and so the government now breaks up this beautiful family.

Today's email to HFP:

They purchased his airline tickets today and he will be gone Friday. Chanda Hidanovic

Our response:

I am sick. When will you go? Doug

Her response:

My ticket is for April 6th. I'll go for two weeks, then come back and decide what my future holds. I'm scared.


Pray for the Hidanovic family!

Doug Tjapkes
HUMANITY FOR PRISONERS
20 W. Muskegon Avenue
Muskegon, MI 49440

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

ONE DAY in the office!

The roller coaster goes up---Prisoner A
I just wrote my last letter to you. Next week I’ll see you in person!

The roller coaster goes down---Family of prisoner B
After saying he would help, our attorney now does nothing!

The roller coaster goes up---former prisoner
I can’t tell you how much I’m enjoying my freedom!

The roller coaster goes down---Prisoner B
The judge’s decision knocked the wind out of me!

The roller coaster goes up---Prisoner C
Thank you for responding to my letter---thousands do not!

The roller coaster goes down---Grandmother of mentally ill Prisoner D
They have my grandson (15) completely locked down and he gets no mail!

The roller coaster goes up---Prisoner E
I think you are an extraordinary man and the work you do is invaluable!

The roller coaster goes down---Prisoner F
I would rather lay down and die than to quit fighting, but I’m running out of steam!

The roller coaster goes up---Prisoner G
I don’t know what I’d do without you. I love you!


Your continued support of HMF is invaluable! Please!

Doug Tjapkes, President
HUMANITY FOR PRISONERS
20 W. Muskegon Avenue
Muskegon, MI 49440

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Would you be so kind as to do a prisoner a favor today?

Take a moment, look in your wallet, and see if you spot anything green. If so, take that green piece of currency, slip it into an envelope and mail it to HFP. The smallest bill means much in times like these! Prisoners will benefit, and St. Patty would be pleased.

As a bonus, I offer this beautiful Irish prayer, which you may wish to share with someone else today:

Dear Lord,
Give me a few friends
who will love me for what I am,
and keep ever burning
before my vagrant steps
the kindly light of hope...
And though I come not within sight
of the castle of my dreams,
teach me to be thankful for life,
and for time's olden memories
that are good and sweet.
And may the evening's twilight
find me gentle still.

Thank you, in advance, from many behind bars, and may you have a wonderful day!


Doug Tjapkes
HUMANITY FOR PRISONERS
20 W. Muskegon Avenue
Muskegon, MI 49440

Friday, March 13, 2009

Friday thoughts

I had lunch with Ed yesterday.

"So what's the big deal?" you might ask.

Well, the big deal is that Ed and I have fantasized about such a day for years. This 59 year old man, a dear friend, had been in prison for the past 8 years for a crime he did not commit. He got out a couple of weeks ago.

Yesterday, in a public restaurant, with no guards telling us what to do and where to sit, with my friend in civilian clothes, we sipped iced tea, laughed and talked. It was heaven! Ed is a free man.

In two weeks I'll drive to Jackson to pick up Ron.

And the big deal: He's been in prison for ten years for two crimes he didn't commit! He's getting out.

We're going to sit in a restaurant together with Mitch, the other guy who helped him. We're going to drink iced tea, and laugh and talk. No guards will be frowning at us. Ron will be in civilian clothes. It'll be heaven! Ron will be a free man.

Reminded me, once again, that we don't really treasure freedom until we lose it.

HFP is supported solely by people like you!


Doug Tjapkes
HUMANITY FOR PRISONERS
20 W. Muskegon Avenue
Muskegon, MI 49440

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

You ain't seen nothin' yet!

Instead of passing along more heart-breaking stories this week, it's time that we pass along some of the reasons for excitement in this office!

-We're working on a new blog radio broadcast! Stay tuned.

-HFP is developing an innovative new prisoner letter-writing program, to be launched next month at a seminar in a Grand Rapids church!

-A 20-minute excerpt from a new, professional play about the lives of Maurice Carter and Doug Tjapkes will be read before some 300 attendees at the National Innocence Conference this month in Houston!

-A re-entering citizen, whose two life sentences were commuted thanks to the efforts of HFP, will have his own apartment in just two weeks, after spending the past ten years in prison for crimes he did not commit!

Times are tough, but I'm not asking for a bail-out!

I'm asking that you ensure that this incredible momentum will continue by making a tax-deductible donation today! Lives are being touched, thanks to you.

Doug Tjapkes, President
HUMANITY FOR PRISONERS
20 W. Muskegon Avenue
Muskegon, MI 49440

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Kind words of a prisoner

HUMANITY FOR PRISONERS is more than that: It is HUMANITY FOR PEOPLE!

There was a day when I was serving not one but two life sentences for crimes I did not commit. The courts continued to turn me down. I was at wit's end.

Then Doug Tjapkes came into my life. Not only did he restore hope to me, but much more importantly, faith. Shortly after that, I was crippled by back surgery. Doug was there.

Now I write this with a parole date within the next 30 days, and again it is because of Doug. HUMANITY FOR PRISONERS stood up for me, pulled me up by my bootstraps, and got me through a very arduous commutation process. Today, I have not one commutation, but two!

How do you say "thank you" for someone giving you your life back?

I plan to do everything in my power to make Doug proud of his accomplishment in this case. The way I see it, HFP not only helps out prisoners, it helps out people, it helps out society as a whole by giving people back dignity, self worth, hope and even sometimes hard-earned freedom. HFP could easily stand for HUMANITY FOR PEOPLE!

No words will ever express my gratitude for Doug, his family and his organization.

Ron