One by one they gave their names, and then told of a family member now in prison. One by one they shed tears of pain in making that admission. One by one they listened to the stories of abuse and neglect behind bars, and nodded their heads in agreement. They could tell similar stories.
Matt and I were involving in a workshop led by our friend Lois DeMott of Michigan’s Family Participation Program. Two dozen people were there to get information and to share stories.
And it was at that moment that I realized, once again, why we are in this business. I was affirmed in what we are doing! This is exactly where we belong!
Just in recent days
-we extended our hand to two 74-year-old inmates who together have served 90 years behind bars
-we listened to the story of a prisoner who claims to have been sexually compromised by a prison therapist
-we resumed our work with the family of a mentally ill inmate nearly killed by prison abuse
-we continued our preparation to speak up for a deserving prisoner at his Parole Board Public Hearing
-we responded to a request to address graduates of a prison GED program
-we made corrections and additions to an inmate’s application form for commutation
-we took steps to help a seriously ill inmate get some proper medication
-we simply encouraged a confused inmate who suddenly finds himself in an unfriendly and unfamiliar environment after what most certainly was a wrongful conviction.
All of this in response to more than 150 messages to the HFP office from prisoners and/or their families and friends via email, snail mail, telephone and web site.
We do our best to serve as the hands and feet of Jesus, extending love and compassion to Michigan inmates one at a time. The only thing is---we can’t do it alone. We need you at our side. All the way.