Would I be willing to sit at the side of a prisoner during his parole board interview?
The request came from a distraught mother who lives in a rural area north of here.
My immediate response was that maybe it might be best if one of the man's parents sat beside him. That would not be possible, according to Madelyn. Her son, age 36, is a single dad. And he has a son named Marc who is terminally ill with a disease that has left him unable to even move. His critical condition demanded care around the clock, seven days a week, by his grandparents. He hadn't seen his father in seven years because he was in no shape to visit a prison.
I didn't hesitate. Even though I didn't know Adam, I felt he shouldn't be alone. I met a quiet, intelligent man behind bars, and we quickly bonded.
"What do you mean when you say you committed an armed robbery because you had too many expenses?" I tried to explain to the exasperated Parole Board member that, while robbery certainly is not the answer and without question is deserving of punishment, escalating medical expenses over a period of 14 years could perhaps send a person in an inappropriate direction. Adam was truly sorry.
That was four weeks ago.
Yesterday I learned from the grandmother that the little boy couldn't hang on any longer.
Marc received a new body for Christmas, relief from pain, and a personal welcome at heaven's gates.
But during this holiday season, pray for Madelyn and Roy. Their grandson is gone. Their son remains in prison.
And pray for Adam. The MDOC waited until after he received the call informing him that his only son had died, to tell him that the Parole Board had denied his appeal. Now he'll spend at least another year in prison.
No son. No freedom.