All writing is a form of prayer - John Keats

Thursday, May 2, 2019

Yep: Joe's mad at HFP!

Old Joe is pissed!

It says right in the HUMANITY FOR PRISONERS brochure: No request for assistance is ignored or denied!

And Joe, who has been in prison since 1984, is flat broke. So, he asked HFP for money. And guess what? He got denied. Joe was so angry that he filed a complaint with the Michigan Attorney General. Now our team will have to take time off from helping other inmates to explain to Dana Nessel’s office that we really weren’t ignoring him, and that his request just didn’t fall into any categories otherwise outlined in that same brochure.

But be that as it may, the incident points out a couple of things.

First and foremost, prisoners do have money problems. There are times when I wish I could be a DeVos or a Van Andel, just so that I could help people like

 Joe, who needs money to pay for his deodorant, toothpaste, bath soap and other personal hygiene needs;
Karen, who desperately wanted money to pay the cost of prison guards so that she could attend her mother’s funeral service;
Daniel, who needed only $150 for tuition so that he could continue his community college classes behind bars.

But it’s true in all of life, isn’t it? People of means could do so much more to help the plight of the poor. If they wanted to.

And the second point is, even though old Joe is upset with us, and even though our team is bummed that they must put prisoner assistance aside in order to provide all the necessary information to the State AG’s office, we’ll still be here for him.

On that day when he has some problem getting appropriate medical care, needs some help in filing a FOIA request, wants some assistance in preparing to meet with the Parole Board, hopes to track down a missing loved one, or wants some guidance in preparing a commutation application, HFP stands ready to help. We go the extra mile to provide assistance…even to the ornery ones! Truth of the matter is, we love ‘em, we think they have worth, and even the meanest and the most unlikable still deserve humane treatment.

That now-famous itinerant preacher who is our leader once told his followers:

If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also. And if anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, hand over your coat as well.

We’re pretty good at that.

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