Thursday, May 3, 2012

On disappointments

While I am the first to admit that I love this job, I must confess that the daily dose of disappointments is...well, disappointing.

In a typical day in the HFP office, we must break the news to a prisoner that a bona fide innocence agency has done nothing to help him, and it appears that nothing more will be done. We are frustrated as the prison system finds more roadblocks as we fight delays in medical treatment...urgently needed treatment. We continue the struggle to find some way to persuade prison officials to make some transfers that seem so logical (a prisoner in the UP with an ailing 90 year old mother in Detroit?). And there is the heartbreak of a faltering friendship or romance for a prisoner. You and I face some disappointments each day, but as you can well imagine, these issues are magnified when you are behind bars and have very little means of communication.

I am particularly annoyed today, however, because a prisoner was dealt a heavy-duty dose of disappointment from outside the judicial system. He had placed his trust and his future in the hands of an unscrupulous attorney. The lawyer, who promised big things, delivered nothing. He failed to meet deadlines, he failed to deliver, the one document that he filed in court was tossed out on a technicality. And now, as the prisoner demands answers and responses, the attorney has taken the unusual step of blocking telephone calls from the inmate. All this after taking $67,000 in payments from the prisoner and his family!

We're doing what we can to try to help, but there seems to be little recourse. Now it's up to our friend to pick up the pieces, and start over again. We'll help with that, too.

And they call the inmate the criminal!


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