Showing posts from April, 2017

Prison guards need non-violent communication training, too!

It’s a terrible thing to lose your mom.  It’s even worse for someone in prison to lose a mother, or any family member for that matter.  There’s no way to mourn.  No one to talk to.  There’s no quiet time for reflection.  Other family members can’t be there with you to share memories.  You may not even attend the memorial service.  It’s heart-wrenching! So a young, 28-year-old Connor was hurting last week on the day of his mother’s funeral, and it’s no surprise that he got into an argument with a Corrections Officer.  From that point on, specific details aren’t available, but we’ve received enough reports that substantiate the final chapter of the story.  Connor told the officer his mother had died, and the aggravated officer replied, “F*** your mom!” Connor’s response was a quick punch to the officer’s face.  And predictably, other guards raced to help and Connor became a punching bag.  He was hauled away to Level 4 in a cart, we’re told, bleeding and suffering from possible h

When we can't help, that's what breaks my heart!

“War is hell.”  A quote attributed to General William Tecumseh Sherman dating back to the Civil War. “Prison is hell.”  A quote attributed to Doug Tjapkes at the turn of the 21 st Century. Articles appearing in our newspapers and on our television sets in recent years seem to show a dramatic improvement in prison life:  college and seminary courses, community college affiliations, new programs offering vocational training, new dog-training programs, new and improved arts and hobby-craft projects.  But the reality is:  Prison is still hell!  Pure and simple.  No if, and, or but about it.  And while the reformers and politicians are grabbing the headlines about our improvements, you can be assured that there are enough of the old guard, the hard line establishment, to make sure that prison remains hell.  Retribution and punishment are rife!  Rehabilitation and restoration are almost non-existent! We are as guilty as others in painting a rosy picture.  If HFP hopes to raise

And IF we're Easter People, it's time to show it!

In my Easter blog this year, I made reference to a delightful Avery and Marsh song that Marcia and I have loved ever since we attended their workshop eons ago. Ev'ry morning is Easter morning from now on! Ev'ry day's resurrection day, the past is over and gone! Goodbye guilt, goodbye fear, good riddance! Hello Lord, Hello sun! I am one of the Easter People! My new life has begun! I am so impressed that, on Ash Wednesday, so many people are not ashamed to wear the sign of the cross smeared on their foreheads. I am so impressed that, on Easter morning, so many people who aren’t all that interested in church during the year, feel that it is important to get to the Easter service. That tells me that many people are not ashamed of what this Jesus stood for.  And if that is the case, and if every day is “resurrection day” from now on, then those of us who call ourselves “Easter People” must not be ashamed to -stand with the victims of war; -

Why the Risen Lord relates so well to prisoners?

I have an idea why Jesus relates so much to prisoners and their various plights.  Hear me out. It’s Easter time, 2017.  On Maundy Thursday Pope Francis, one of my heroes, entered a prison in Italy and washed the feet of more than a dozen former mafia figures, now incarcerated.  On Good Friday, around the world, people attended services observing the death of our Savior.  On Easter morning, church attendance records will break as people attend services celebrating the resurrection of the Christ. Then comes Monday.  I love the whimsical Avery and Marsh Easter song that goes like this: Ev'ry morning is Easter morning from now on! Ev'ry day's resurrection day, the past is over and gone! I always hope it will be that way.  But the reality of the situation is that, once Easter is gone, it will be forgotten by many until this time in 2018.  We went to church.  We thought of Jesus.  Our dues have been paid.  Now it’s back to the real world. No wonder Jesu

Innocent until proven guilty? Don't you believe it for a second!

You’re guilty until proven innocent.  It’s not something we proclaim out in the open here in the home of the brave and the land of the free.  But it’s a fact.  Prosecutors and defense attorneys know it.  Cops know it.  Judges know it.  And if other factors are involved, such as race and poverty, the situation gets even worse. Why am I thinking about this, or, it seems, ranting? Well, I’m reviewing the Maurice Carter story.  The publisher of my book SWEET FREEDOM has asked me to write and voice personal intros to each chapter of the book, for an “enhanced” e-book version that will be coming out.  And so, during my brief vacation when I enjoy taking a little time to do some writing, I’m reliving the Maurice Carter story.  Now the enjoyment is turning to renewed disgust. Maurice Carter’s story demonstrates, once again, just how difficult it is to prove you are innocent once you get sucked into the so-called justice system.  Not only that, it proves just how easy it is to get