Thursday, October 17, 2013

The highs and lows

When it comes to working with prisoners, I must confess that the lows usually win. It has certainly been that way for the past few months.

First Otto died...an ailing inmate who should have been home with his wife.

Then Joey died, after a harrowing few days when the prison system refused to keep his wife apprised of daily issues at the end of his life.

Then Linda died, a cancer patient who had no business dying in a prison infirmary, when she could have been surrounded by family and loved ones.

These are the sucker-punches in this business, and they hurt.

But the God of the valley is also the God of the mountains!

This morning came the brief message from Herman: I'm going home!

Herman is a parolable lifer, 54 years of age. He has served 34 years. A Parole Board agreed to give him parole once before, but then administrations changed in our state, and the new administration vetoed the decision. Can you imagine the heart-break?

Prisoners contacted HFP and asked us to help Herman. Another public hearing was set by the Parole Board for last July. I drove to Ionia to participate, and to show our support. Here was a beautiful man whose life reflected his faith and beliefs. He chose to make his time in prison a time for improvement, taking every course possible. He gained the respect of prisoners and staff members alike, and even obtained a letter of support from a former warden. While not a major player in the crime for which he was convicted, he showed genuine remorse and sadness for his actions.

But after the public hearing, an agonizing period withg no word from the PB.

Then the good news this morning.

Today, this high wins!

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