An open letter to the residents of Women’s Huron Valley

Dear Friends at WHV, 

Your recent expression of kindness prompts me to send an immediate letter of thanks. I, as well as the staff and volunteers at HUMANITY FOR PRISONERS are filled with gratitude, after receiving a grant from your Prisoner Benefit Fund! 

For our readers who are not aware of this fund, it’s a special account set up in every Michigan prison for special expenditures on behalf of the incarcerated. The money comes from sources like the prison store and vending machines. A special committee, made up of staff members and inmates, then decides how the money is to be spent. It can be spent, for example, on exercise equipment or microwave ovens. But, the PBF committees may also choose to make contributions to approved charitable organizations. This week, HUMANITY FOR PRISONERS received a grant from the WHV Prisoner Benefit Fund in the form of a $5,000 check! 

It's a reflection of a love affair between WHV and HFP that goes back many years. 

One of my earliest memories of traveling to Ypsi was back when HFP was a one-man show. I chose to make that drive to hold the door open for a client who was re-entering society. Our friendship remains to this day, and she later became a member of our Board of Directors. 

When HFP expanded to a two-man operation, Matt and I compiled a series of signed affidavits from inmate whistle-blowers over the cruel abuse of a mentally ill woman. Our efforts resulted in state-wide news coverage, legal pressure from the ACLU, and a 2-year investigation by the US Department of Justice! 

When a state plumber, working at the only prison for women, witnessed some shameful atrocities and risked his job to tell the public, HFP published his damning statement in this column. 

When a delightful gospel music troupe called Sweet Freedom made a benefit album for HFP, I arranged to take the musicians to WHV for morning and afternoon concerts for the women. 

During one visit at WHV, my speech was interrupted by a woman in the front row. She explained that a well-known, long-time inmate was dealing with terminal cancer. She simply wanted to die at home with friends and family. Her public hearing was coming up in just 5 days. Would I be willing to go there, on behalf of the WHV populace, to testify? I would and I did! She was granted the compassionate release, and she spent her final days in the presence of loved ones. 

And, this WHV/HFP relationship continues to this day. We’re still helping when and where we can, still attending Parole Board hearings. 

Recently we received word from a client that her heart meds had been discontinued. We stepped in, and received a long email message of thanks: “Thank you so so so much! I am so grateful for HFP. This morning I picked up my medicine. I am already starting to feel more like myself again.” 

Now it’s our turn to say thanks.  HFP can receive no higher compliment than financial support from behind bars! Thank you so so so much! 

With God's help, may our relationship continue! 



Pat Hardy said…
Thanks for helping the "forgotten women" at HV.

Wishing you continued success!!

Pat Hardy
Cindy Anderson said…
Wow! Such a great affirmation of HFP’s work!

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