Hey, Big Bro, someday I can just see us sitting around a table, reviewing cases of prisoners, and deciding which ones we want to help.
The words of the late Maurice Carter---my friend and my soul brother for nearly 10 years---words that led to the formation of what is now HUMANITY FOR PRISONERS.
I was a leader of the charge to free this dear, wrongly convicted human being, who spent 29 years behind bars for a crime he knew nothing about. Maurice Henry Carter died exactly 13 years ago, exactly three months after he was freed.
We never did get an exoneration. He died from Hepatitis C complications, a disease he caught while in prison. The diagnosis had actually been made 8 years earlier, but he was never informed, probably because then the state would have had to treat him.
Today, on the anniversary of his death, Maurice would be proud.
No, we really don’t have time to sit around and discuss cases. Our office gets about 400 emails, phone calls or letters from prisoners or their representatives every month. This October, the month when we remember his passing, is particularly significant. For the first time in our 16-year history, the number of contacts per year has exceeded 4,000! For the first time in our history, the number of lives touched in one year by HFP has topped 800!
He wouldn’t be surprised by our up-hill fight to get adequate funding. During his entire period of incarceration, he struggled with public indifference and lack of concern. It was up-hill every step of the way.
He would be surprised by our progress. With two full-time and one part-time staff members, four regular volunteers, a medical consultant, and a battery of doctors and lawyers who make up our advisory panel, we’re growing like gang-busters! Our fine Board of Directors must concern itself with critical matters like office space, staff needs and succession planning. HFP has never been on such a roll, sometimes responding to 30-40 contacts a day, seven days a week!
I am credited with founding this organization, but I’m the first to admit that this absolutely would not have happened had it not been for the dream of Maurice Carter. He had the vision. God opened the doors. Our team now marches to the drumbeat of Jesus, offering Action with Compassion to every inmate in the Michigan prison system who has a problem and doesn’t know where to turn.
RIP, Maurice! We’ll carry on.