Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Miracle in a dreary prison hospital

A prison hospital would seem like about the last place where one would see a miracle.  But as sure as I’m sitting here typing up this story, I believe a miracle has occurred.

Often we tell these stories to help raise money.  We want our supporters to know that their dollars actually touch lives behind bars, one at a time.  This is NOT a dollar story.  It’s God, pure and simple.  Nothing your dollars did.  Nothing we did.  But it’s important that we share our stories of celebration, also.

I’m getting way ahead of myself.  Let me start at the beginning.

This spring our office began receiving disturbing reports of cruelty, neglect and abuse in a particular unit of the women’s prison in Ypsilanti.  It was the place where they care for the worst of the mentally ill cases.  Some prisoners who were patients in that unit, we were told, were being hog-tied, and were being abused by taser weapons and pepper gas sprayers.

In one particularly upsetting case, a woman with parched tongue was denied a simple drink of water for several days.  Instead, the nurse reportedly kept administering injections of a psych-drug, even after the woman was unconscious.  Finally, Darlene was mercifully rushed to the hospital by ambulance in critical condition and placed on life support.  Rumors among prisoners were rampant, some claiming that she had died.

I personally spoke with a member of the family several weeks ago.  She said that life support equipment had been removed.  The woman appeared to be in a vegetative state…they were just waiting for her to die.

We were enraged.  Our directors were enraged.  Our attorney was enraged.  This could have been prevented!

Our extensive files of torture accounts were shared with legal experts and the US Department of Justice.  Perhaps we lost Darlene, but we weren’t going to lose the fight.

And then, at midnight last night, came this brief email message from one of our whistleblowers behind bars:  Great news for you and everyone who has prayed for Darlene. She woke up!  She is talking and moving around. The person who spoke to me on it said it was a miracle. And it still is. She is awaiting her medical commutation. I guess it still hasn't been signed.  They have her in the infirmary in a big room and are treating her really good. She is alive!  What a beautiful miracle.  Please tell everyone that has prayed for her.

Pastor Nate just reminded me last Sunday about the importance of prayers for healing.  The truth is that I had given up praying for Darlene.  She was a lost cause.  I moved on, praying, instead, for the survivors, and praying that stories like this would never happen again.

I stopped, but God didn’t.


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