Showing posts from May, 2023

Memorial Day. Thinking beyond the loss of vets.

M emorial Day is a federal holiday for honoring and mourning the U.S. military personnel who have died while serving in the armed forces. It is observed on the last Monday of May, which means it’s coming soon.   It is a somber holiday.   I remember, as a child, standing in the crowd watching the Muskegon Memorial Day parade. I remember seeing young and old military personnel marching with solemn looks on their faces. Tragedies in the Second World War had many women in the crowd shedding tears.   Over the years we have expanded the observance of Memorial Day to include memories of other loved ones. Flowers are placed on the graves of family members and relatives. My mom and dad are buried in northern Michigan, and one of our cousins kindly sees to it that there are flowers on their grave marker each year.   All of this leads me to the discussion, once again, of prisoner deaths. Each year more than 100 residents of Michigan prisons die. Just as on the outside, the causes vary. Ye

National CO Week? Yep, they deserve it!

Many years ago I was speaking to a delightful group of senior citizens in a college campus setting, telling of the work of HFP. In describing conditions in our prison system, I expressed concern about corrections officers who mistreated the mentally ill, who loved their badge and their power more than the subjects they were working with, and who felt that no punishment was too great for law violators.   Following my presentation, a sweet grey-haired woman raised her hand. “I just want you to know,” she said, “that my son has a college degree, has chosen to serve as a correctional officer, loves his work, and takes his job seriously. He's proud of what he does!” That was a very important reminder to me: We should not paint with a broad brush!   We forget that COs are not properly trained to care for the mentally ill, are not paid enough for what they do, are overworked (due to staff shortages, (some are ordered to work double shifts!), and are generally despised and often mistre