Showing posts from September, 2016

Reading anything about former prisoners doing good? Me neither.

Marcia and I were watching the news, as a reporter explained that the man who committed this particular crime had recently been released from prison.  That’s the kind of stuff that makes the news, and that’s the kind of stuff that sets back possibilities of parole for many others.  We have no hard data to support this, but all of us involved in this kind of work are convinced that this negative publicity just stiffens the position of the Michigan Parole Board.  It gets tougher for worthy inmates to catch a parole. I’ll be the first to admit that, even in our small organization we’ve been stung.  People who we thought were good immediately resumed doing bad things the moment they got out.  But the story that seems to get missed by the media (and I tread lightly here, because I was a part of the media for nearly 30 years and I felt that my reporting was very balanced) is the wonderful story of second-chance successes by ex-offenders. This whole topic is fresh in my mind because

Sometimes I cry

Country gospel artist Jason Crabb sings a song that I like…I believe it was written by his dad: I look the part Blend in with the rest of the church crowd I know the routine I could list all the Bible studies in town Watch Christian TV I know all the preachers, their cliches I've been born again And without a doubt I know I'm saved But sometimes I hurt and sometimes I cry… I was thinking of that song today, after I chatted with a pleasant woman who right now is making a one-hour drive to see her father in prison.  I hope it goes all right, because her father is dying.  At the top of his list of medical problems is Stage 4 cancer.  He’s heavily medicated, but things aren’t going well.  She has no complaints about his medical care.  A prison nurse has been most helpful.  A prison social worker has been more than kind.  But, her dad’s in prison, he’s only slightly beyond middle-age, and he’s dying.  This comes on the heels of another situation that I have me

On showing love for animals. Prisoners, too!

Our youngest son, his wife, and their three beautiful children lost a family member this weekend:  their dog Zoe.  Matt put a beautiful tribute to Zoe on Facebook today, and as I read the obit I did a lot of reflecting. You see, Zoe was a rescue dog.  Matt and Melissa drove nearly 400 miles one way to rescue Zoe from a shelter shortly before she was due to be put down.  They’ve had 9 wonderful years together. Over on the other side of town, our youngest daughter Sue and her family are enjoying the company of another mutt named Grady.  He was rescued after being found wandering on a busy Muskegon street hungry and flea-infested.  Old, maybe a little blind and certainly a little deaf, somebody probably just didn’t want him anymore.  Sue and Jon, Brenden and Zachary did. What I’m hoping is that this is trickle-down.  I’m hoping that all four of our kids learned about rescue when Marcia and I (and the kids, too, for that matter) took in Maurice Carter as a member of our family

TRYING to help those who don't know where to turn

Vision Statement:  Humanity for Prisoners seeks to provide personalized, problem-solving services for inmates who don’t know where to turn. To some, that might seem rather trite and meaningless.  What?  Prisoners not getting along with a room-mate?  Prisoners not getting enough exercise time?  Prisoners complaining about a broken micro-wave oven? A sore finger? A toothache?  Etc, etc. Hardly.  Here are four staring us in the face right now. We’ve just appealed to the front office in Lansing to cut through red tape, and help an 81 year old man whose foot injury began with a blister on his big toe in 2013.  Due to what appears to be lack of appropriate care and treatment for the past three years, there have been resulting problems such as gangrene.  And it’s not restricted to the toe any more, or even the foot.  The leg is involved.  One of our consulting physicians labeled it “malpractice,” and said the man is in danger of losing his foot, or possibly even his leg!  We’

HFP pays tribute to a Warden

Some days it seems that we can be highly critical of certain personnel and certain policies of the Michigan Department of Corrections.  Some days we remove all doubt!  But fair is fair, so when we see or find certain personnel and certain programs worthy of praise, we must not remain silent. Today, HFP pays tribute to Shawn Brewer, Warden of the G. Robert Cotton Correctional Facility in Jackson.  I’m quick to point out that we hardly know the man.  I met him just once, a little over a week ago.  But here’s why we’re giving him special recognition:  Good things are happening at that prison!  CHANCE FOR LIFE is an exciting program that was founded in 1999.  Quoting CFL’s own statement:  The purpose of the Chance for Life Organization is to enhance the ability of ex-offenders to be successful after leaving prison by providing an integrated program that transforms and educates, while focusing on family reunification and community safety.  CFL has chapters now in 8 different priso