My friend David once said, in describing prisoners, “I think these are the kind of guys Jesus would hang out with.”
I seldom write blogs when I’ve had a little quaff. Generally, I try to create the blogs in the morning when the mind of this octogenarian seems to be most productive. I admit, I’m mellow this evening. And for good reason.
HFP’s wonderful volunteer Jennifer and I went to the Muskegon Correctional Facility this afternoon, at the request of the prison’s National Lifers Association Chapter, to lead a workshop on how prisoners might fill out application forms for a commutation of sentence.
For background: No one knows whether Governor Rick Snyder will soften his stance and think about clemency during his last year in office. But there are many prisoners, especially lifers, especially those serving life without parole, who are hoping this might happen. That has led to business propositions from lawyers and agencies who say to vulnerable inmates: Such a deal we have for you! For $#### we’ll prepare this application for you, because we know legal people in the Governor’s office, or we have special contacts, or we are exceptionally brilliant.
We know this is a crock, because we’ve been told so by top officials in the MDOC. So, to counter that, we’re offering to help inmates file these applications at no charge. Hence, today’s seminar.
I don’t want to discuss who knows what about commutations, except to say that if someone claims to have an inside corner he or she is full of it. No one knows.
And that’s the kind of straight talk that I shared with 25 guys at MCF today. What a beautiful experience! We shared thoughts. We shared ideas. We asked questions. We tried to answer questions. Do we know it all, like the experts claim? NO. But here’s what many experts don’t have: a genuine bond between inmates and advisers. It was that kinship that we felt today.
I’m not exactly sure how much the guys got out of our workshop this afternoon. But I can tell you this: Jen and I were blessed beyond measure!
In my humble opinion, David was right.