Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Looking for answers

Since we began offering assistance to prisoners in 2001, HUMANITY FOR PRISONERS has made remarkable strides right here in the State of Michigan!

Now with two full-time staffers and an advisory panel of 50 attorneys, doctors, ministers and other professionals, HFP is providing services such as these at a rate of 150-200 times a month---

          Obtaining legal and medical opinions
          Finding long-lost relatives and loved ones
          Assisting in preparation for Parole Board visits or Public Hearings
          Helping to properly fill out commutation application forms
          Vetting names of attorneys under consideration
          Placing inmates in touch with the correct agency for further assistance.

In recent years we have expanded on these unique services by

          Conducting in-prison seminars on the above subjects plus anger management
          Offering gospel concerts by our SWEET FREEDOM music team.

Our work, extending ACTION WITH COMPASSION, couldn’t be more vibrant at the moment!  I often refer to it as “Jesus work,” as rooted in Matthew 25.

And that raises the question:  Why is the Michigan Department of Corrections obviously trying to slow down or hinder our ministry?

Witness these unusual developments in the past 6 weeks---

-Email service through JPay was disconnected from February 5-18.  The MDOC explained that the blockage was “inadvertent,” and apologized for any inconvenience.

-Since the first of February, there has been NO email service to some 100 women in the Michigan facility at Ypsilanti.  So far, no explanation from JPay or the Prison Warden.

-Periodically email messages are still being mysteriously censored with no explanation other than that a department policy or law has been violated, and if no violation was found the reason is simply listed as “other.”

-Yesterday I was informed that, as the President of HFP, I can either continue to  provide programs and concerts at Muskegon Correctional Facility or I can continue to email MCF inmates, BUT NOT BOTH!  The prison Inspector has determined that this would be a violation of policy.  Yet, right next door, at Brooks Correctional Facility, I am quietly encouraged by the Warden to do all of the above!

One would think that any agency trying to make life a little brighter for inmates would be welcomed by the department.

One would think that with the multiple problems of housing more than 40,000 prisoners, the advocacy on behalf of inmates by HFP would be the least of their concerns.

Are we missing something?

In the New Testament book of James I’m advised to “count it all joy” when faced with trials and tribulations.

I’m having a hard time seeing it that way.


1 comment:

Mitchell Jon MacKay said...

There clearly is a concerted effort to curtail mail delivery between inmates and respondents whether snail mail, email, or phone calls. It's not difficult to discern why since communications are all that those involved really have and the cancellation thereof means that these communications are not wanted by authority figures. Forget about 1st Amendment rights, that doesn't matter anymore. The truth is not wanted, therefore mail is refused. This can't continue for long, however, since it is a right and not a mere privilege but these actions are mostly hidden from public view so can be perpetuated and repeated almost indefinitely. Though all concerned know this is wrong the government does little to stop this abuse because frankly no one really cares. This is why the Easter Season is so special, against all odds One Man overcame all of Earth's transgressions and Resurrected and Ascended to heights greater than any others can attain - until we too Try.