Animals? Yes! Buildings? Yes! Prisoners? Let me think about it!


I love stories, reports, TV features and documentaries about restoration, rehabilitation and renewal. With a background in broadcast journalism, I am a news junkie. Each day I review newspapers, on-line news reports, and television reports. 

As a radio newsman decades ago, I loved to write and air stories about rescues and fresh starts. I still enjoy features about rescuing pets, saving old buildings, restoring run-down business districts, and helping abandoned small towns. 

The thing is, I’m not in the news business anymore. And, in my current profession, I’m troubled about reports like these. 

-In the U.S., over 400,000 people enter prison gates, but people go to jail almost 7 million times. Some have just been arrested and will make bail within hours or days, while many others are too poor to make bail and remain behind bars until their trial. 

- On average, incarcerated people earn between 86 cents and $3.45 per day for the most common prison jobs. In at least five states, those jobs pay nothing at all. Moreover, work in prison is compulsory, with little regulation or oversight, and incarcerated workers have few rights and protections. 

- Despite making up close to 5% of the global population, the U.S. has more than 20% of the world’s prison population. Since 1970, our incarcerated population has increased by 500% ­­– 2 million people in jail and prison today, far outpacing population growth and crime. 

- One out of every three Black boys born today can expect to go to prison in his lifetime, as can one of every six Latino boys—compared to one of every 17 white boys. 

- Women are the fastest growing incarcerated population in the United States, and Michigan is one of the worst states! 

Boys and girls, we can’t just sit around with our hands in our pockets any longer. It’s time to do something. I may be old, but I’m not burned out. I’m going to present a program to the HUMANITY FOR PRISONERS Board of Directors that will not only explain why we’re helping the incarcerated, but will use contemporary media methods to raise interest and encourage involvement. 

These people behind bars are not just numbers! They are mothers and dads, uncles and aunts, brothers and sisters, sons and daughters, and 90% of them are going to get out someday. They’re going to be your neighbors and mine! 

Besides old buildings and neglected animals, how about we take drastic measures to help 30,000 people right here in our own state of Michigan? 

Tucked in the book of Hebrews in my Bible are these words: …remember those in prison as if you were together with them. 

That’s not just a suggestion. Stay tuned.


Girbe Eefsting said…
Good work Douger. You inspire me!

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