Friday, March 30, 2012

This roller coaster ride ain't for sissies

And the ride never ends.

Seemed like a quiet week...a week with no rides.

But we reached a little high on Wednesday. No money in the mail...just letters from prisoners. But when I opened one of the envelopes, it was actually a check from a prisoner. That just moves me, every time, without exception. It is a huge sacrifice when a prisoner sends 50 bucks to HFP. That's more money than the prisoner makes---not in a day, not in a week---in a month!

The nose dive came on Thursday. Our friend Harry had been complaining about lazy prison officials who were refusing to crack down on problems in his joint and threatening to take things into his own hands. I received an email message from another prisoner in that facility saying that it finally apparently happened. Word was that Harry not only got into a fight, but seriously injured another inmate. That makes me sad. It makes me angry. It's easy to blame Harry, and that's what the Parole Board will do. They warned him before about avoiding fights. But the system is seriously flawed, and when you hear all of the stuff Harry has been keeping a journal about, you'll become angry with him.

But hang on, the ride goes up again...this time very high. I'm leafing through my mail while I'm standing in line for stamps at the post office when I spot the words "We did it!" on the front of an envelope. Couldn't wait...had to rip it open. It was a letter from a friend in Michigan's women's prison. I had been a guest speaker there just weeks ago, and when I explained what we do, they asked if there was any way possible that I could speak at a public hearing for their friend. Tracy has terminal cancer, and wants to die at home. She's not a violent prisoner...her background involves serious drug abuse. Board Chairman Dan Rooks, who was with me at the facility, and I decided that I should make every effort to attend that public hearing in Jackson and advocate for that ailing illmate. I not only testified, but while there complimented the chairman of the Parole Board and the representative from the Michigan Attorney General's office for the manner in which they conducted the hearing. It was one of the most humane I had ever attended.

I did it, but I must confess I was afraid it was an excercise in futility. This Governor rarely commutes sentences.

I yanked the note out of the envelope. The message: Tracy is going home!

Praise God, who orchestrates our work. We're simply his tools.

And thanks to our supporters. You have no idea how effective your dollars are, day after day.

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