Thursday, December 19, 2013

Holidays without a loved one

The joy of the holiday season is tarnished for those who lost someone dear to them in the past year.

For those of us working with prisoners and the prison system, we know there will be stories involving deaths of loved ones...but HFP is going to try to make a difference in the new year!

Our resolution to try to bring about change was strengthened last week when I spoke to James.

We lost another prisoner this past week, man...another one of our guys passed. He had lung cancer. He had been coughing and choking. We knew he was in bad shape. The docs had recommended a compassionate release to the Parole Board last year and it was turned down. The Parole Board considered another request this year and turned it down. That's so sad. It didn't have to be that way, man. He had family that just wanted him home for his last days.

That's the kind of stuff that just about sends me to the moon.

Who are these people who decide that a dying inmate, regardless of how serious the crime that sent him there, is still a threat to society? In our discussion, James then told me of another inmate who died of liver cancer shortly before that.

HUMANITY FOR PRISONERS was saddened in 2013 when we lost Joey and Otto. We heard of Linda's death in the women's infirmary. These prisoners could have and should have been home, surrounded by friends and loved ones. Instead, they died alone in a cold, impersonal atmosphere. What a shame!

If the past holds true, some 125 prisoners will die in the Michigan prison system in 2014, and about 60% of those will be from natural causes.

The HFP Board of Directors has determined that we must make a strong push for two things in 2014: getting Hospice care into the prison system for those who are dying; and doing our best to increase the number of compassionate releases for those inmates who are terminally ill.

Obviously, the state has no heart.

We're about to demonstrate again that HFP does.

1 comment:

Matt said...

Dealing with inmate loved ones is what we do mostly at our office and being a bail bondsman in Las Vegas, I get a first hand look at how tough it is for them to go without seeing eachother during Christmas. Brutal especially on the kids.