Preachers joke about the parishioner who points out that they work only one day a week. When I was a newscaster, listeners would hear me on the noon news, then again at 5 PM, and wonder what I did in between time. Here in the HFP office, you hear from us is when we need money…but what happens the rest of the time?
Well, let me give you a sample of items that demanded our attention in recent days.
I am a mother. I am crying out to you for help for my son. He is being denied proper medical care and his rights as a human being. I have not seen him in two years. The last time I saw my son I was told I could never see him again because his visitation rights have been stripped away from him because he had not taken his medication, even though he informed me that the medication renders him vulnerable and incapacitated. My son is not allowed phone calls and has been in the hole for over almost a year. The only contact I have with my son is by mail. He has requested to have his visitation rights restored only to be denied, stating he has drug charges. We are not talking about drug charges for selling drugs in prison; we are speaking of him being punished for not taking his medication. My son is now on suicide watch.
My brother was attacked by 4 inmates in the restroom. He was stabbed in the back of the head, beaten and suffered a severe concussion. He has two facial fractures, which may need reconstructive surgery. He was taken to the hospital for stapling his head wound and observation, then returned to "segregation", for his safety.
We are severely overcrowded in the women’s prison. I counted the chairs to sit in this morning, we have 55 chairs for 180 women in our community place. If we cannot find a place to sit we have to go back to our rooms. In our rooms we have one chair, so one of us ALWAYS has to be on our bunks. I eat, sleep, type, write, read, paint, crochet, watch TV, on my bunk. The one chair is in front of a steel slab they call a desk that was meant for the men, so it is REALLY high. I cannot sit at it and type, it is too high and the chair too low.
An early morning phone call from a Muskegon prison: Hey Doug, sorry to be so early...the guys wanted me to call you. They want you on top of this! A guy named Ernie died in our unit during the night. He was in bad shape, man. They took him to the hospital yesterday, but then they sent him back here. His legs were so swollen he couldn’t even walk! We just don’t get the medical care we need! He was only 60 years old and he was scheduled to go home in October.
We receive 10-20 similar calls, letters and emails each day, 7 days a week, from prisoners, or their friends or their family members.
My message is a simple one: The dollars we ask for are not to pay the rent and the electric bill. The dollars you share with HFP are needed so that we may continue to respond to the daily pleas for help just like those above. As I've told you before, this is Jesus work!