Monday, November 26, 2012

One small step

You've heard me talk about the roller coaster. Lately, it seems, most of the rides were downhill. But, it's a new week, and we're heading up again!

In my recent blog, I sounded pretty much like scrooge when discussing the holiday season behind bars.

After the last blog entry, I decided that it was time to actually communicate with the Michigan Department of Corrections regarding this business of no visits on Christmas Day. We already had the MDOC decision that eliminated Tuesday visits for budgetary reasons. But we had also heard that one warden was hoping to make an exception for holiday visits.

And so we contacted the head of communications for the department, Russ Marlan, whose relationship with the President of HFP goes back to the days of Maurice Carter. We've communicated a lot over the years. I sent the email question to Russ over the holiday weekend. After all, if Christmas visits were going to be denied, we wanted to hear it straight from the administration. Today came the formal response.

The MDOC hadn't really thought of holiday visitation. Russ indicated in his email message to me that he discussed the matter with the director, Daniel Heyns, and Mr. Heyns decided to amend the current visiting policy and allow visits at all correctional facilities on Christmas Day and New Years Day. Said Marlan: "Director Heyns recognizes the importance of family visits and maintaining family unity during this holiday season. The wardens were all notified today."

Thank God.

Thank you Russ, and thank you Director Heyns.

Glad we could have played a role in this situation.

It's what HFP does, thanks to the support of many generous people.

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