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​MDOC responds to HFP Blog
May 26, 2017
Yesterday we asked supporters to take a moment to read the HFP blog dealing with Public Hearings, which are conducted by the Michigan Parole Board on behalf of inmates serving life sentences who are eligible for parole.  We have long contended that the hearings need serious improvement.  The blog brought immediate response from the top office of the Michigan Department of Corrections.  In a spirit of fairness, we feel that Michigan tax payers deserve to hear the position of the state on this matter, without further comment or response by HFP.  If you haven’t read the blog yet, you may wish to go to www.humanityforprisoners.blogspot.com before reading this response:
 
I saw your article related to public parole hearings and must say I was disappointed by the rather personal attacks against board members.  The members of the board are entrusted with a significant responsibility, which few members of the public truly understand.  The work that goes into hearing and deciding thousands of cases a year in which they are asked to determine the delicate balance between liberty and public safety is significant.  In light of that, attacking them because of their dress or vehicle choice and claiming that they are “feeding from the trough of the State of Michigan” is unfair, unnecessary and I think below an organization like HFP.  I have had the opportunity to work with the members of the board in various capacities and I would tell you that they are all extremely professional and amongst the hardest working public servants in the State.  They have a difficult job and I believe they do it well.  I understand that public hearings can be challenging, frustrating, and at times emotional, but I would sincerely ask that you refrain from making personal attacks against the board members involved in that process, because ultimately they simply aren’t necessary.

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Thoughts on Michigan Public Hearings
May 25, 2017
Ever since its inception, HFP has taken a position that the Michigan Parole Board’s Public Hearing procedure is a farce, and it’s wrong.  In support of that position, we ask two things this morning.  First, that you read our latest blog - www.humanityforprisoners.blogspot.com.  And, then we’d like you to view a one-minute video as a sentencing judge discusses his experience in the Public Hearing: http://bit.ly/2rCO9xI

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Local Doctor Receives HFP Award
May 24, 2017
Dr. Robert Bulten of West Olive has received the inaugural Maurice H. Carter Humanitarian Award, presented by

Humanity for Prisoners. The award was presented by HFP President Doug Tjapkes in a public ceremony this week.
Humanity for Prisoners is a faith-based 501c3 organization with offices in Grand Haven serving Michigan

prisoners dealing with in-house issues when they have nowhere else to turn.  Founded in 2001, this team

of local prisoner advocates has already touched the lives of more than 450 Michigan prisoners this year!
Dr. Bulten, whose Behavioral Medicine office is located in Grand Rapids, serves as Medical Consultant for

HFP.  “As one of more than 50 professional volunteers who assist us on a daily basis in showing compassion

to needy prisoners,” Tjapkes said, “Dr. Bulten’s contributions to our agency are invaluable!”
The hand-crafted leather plaque was created by Native American John Aslin, a Michigan prison inmate. 

The award will be presented each year to a volunteer providing stellar service to HFP.  It is named in honor

of Maurice Carter, who served 29 years for a crime he did not commit, and whose story is the subject of

Doug’s book SWEET FREEDOM.   

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Starting the week with Leo Buscaglia
May 22, 2017
“Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.” 
― Leo Buscaglia

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Sunday Verse

May 21, 2017

​"Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love."
Ephesians 4:2

HFP, dealing with even the most tender of personal issues.  www.humanityforprisoners.blogspot.com

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​We'd like to thank YOU!
May 17,, 2017
If you're reading this message, then somehow, some way you've supported the work of Humanity for Prisoners. And this Monday, we'd like to thank you for that!
HFP cordially invites everyone to come to our Celebration of Gratitude Open House from 5:30 to 7:30 pm this Monday at Desserts by Design, 320 Columbus Ave, Grand Haven. We'll have snacks, refreshments and music, all we need is YOU! RSVP is not necessary, we just hope to see you there. Please consider stopping by, even if only for a minute.

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HFP Blog

May 16, 2017

Sometimes well-meaning support for a  prisoner backfires.  The damaging results not only hurt the advocate, they hurt our cause:  http://humanityforprisoners.blogspot.com/

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Starting the week with St. Therese of Lisieux

May 15, 2017

"The loveliest masterpiece of the heart of God is the the heart of a mother."
-St. Therese of Lisieux

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Sunday Verse

May 14, 2017
"Listen, my son, to your father’s instruction and do not forsake your mother’s teaching.
They are a garland to grace your head and a chain to adorn your neck."
Proverbs 1:8-9

HFP Mother’s Day Observations:
 www.humanityforprisoners.blogspot.com

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Starting the week with Charles de Lint
May 8, 2017
“I don't want to live in the kind of world where we don't look out for each other. Not just the people that are close to us, but anybody who needs a helping hand. I can’t change the way anybody else thinks, or what they choose to do, but I can do my bit.” 
― Charles de Lint

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Sunday Verse
May 7, 2017
"Whoever oppresses a poor man insults his Maker, but he who is generous to the needy honors him."
Proverbs 14:31

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HFP Board Chair Honored

May 5, 2017
Congratulations to HFP’s board chairperson Cindy Anderson and husband Don, for being honored with the Grand Haven Chamber of Commerce’s Lifetime Achievement Award:

http://www.grandhaventribune.com/Local/2017/05/05/Andersons-named.html?ci=stream&lp=1&p=1

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Shakespeare Behind Bars is Back!
May 5, 2017
Thanks to the efforts of friends and supporters, the Michigan Department of Corrections has reversed its decision removing SBB from programs at two state prisons in Muskegon.  Said Founder-Director Curt Tofteland:
"Shakespeare Behind Bars welcomes the expansion of its programs to include more prisoners at the E. C. Brooks and West Shoreline Correctional Facilities in Muskegon Heights. Additionally, we are thankful to be allowed to share our work through performance."

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You're Invited!
May 3, 2017
Humanity for Prisoners wants to thank you! HFP staff, volunteers, directors and Development Committee members simply want to show our appreciation for your interest, support, prayers and involvement in our mission. Everyone is invited to an HFP “Celebration of Gratitude Open House” on Monday, May 22, from 5:30 to 7:30 at Desserts by Design, 320 Columbus Ave. in Grand Haven.
Refreshments and light snacks will be served, and there will be music as well. There's no charge to attend, and we won't be making a pitch for your money. We just want to say thanks. 
We will need to know if you're coming. Please contact Cindy Anderson at 616-846-7981 or canderson@chartermi.net to reserve your spot!
We look forward to seeing you there!

HFP Blog: Shakespeare Behind Bars terminated? See our latest blog entry:  http://humanityforprisoners.blogspot.com/

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HFP Blog
April 26, 2017
As Mother’s Day approaches, stop to think how you might react if someone made a derogatory remark about YOUR mother.  Here’s how inmate Connor reacted:
 http://humanityforprisoners.blogspot.com/

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Starting the Week with Harry Truman

April 24, 2017

“Men make history and not the other way around. In periods where there is no leadership, society stands still. Progress occurs when courageous, skillful leaders seize the opportunity to change things for the better.”
– Harry S. Truman

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Sunday Verse

April 23, 2017

"Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves"
Philippians 2:3

Sometimes it seems like we can’t help, and that hurts! 
http://humanityforprisoners.blogspot.com/

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Medically Frail Prisoners
April 21, 2017
A group of women at Huron Valley Correctional Facility has asked HFP to share their ideas on amending a pair of the bills going through the house. Here is the information they’ve asked us to share:
HB 4101 & 4102 "Medically Frail"

If the bill passes as is, it will release medically frail prisoners to MDOC-approved Nursing Facilities. However, several prisoners have families/friends and many die waiting approval for medical releases. 

*AMENDMENT REQUESTED*
 - Alternate release to family/friends
 - Expedite the hearing and parole process

Please take action to contact local representatives in your area and share on social media. These types of prisoners are not a threat to society in their infirmed state. The money saved releasing them can be used on EDUCATION, STATE & LOCAL POLICE FUNDING, INFRASTRUCTURE, etc. Thank you for your support in our cause to AMEND these house bills. Our deadline for letters is June 30.

To find your local representatives in Michigan, you can visit
http://www.house.mi.gov/mhrpublic/

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Starting the Week with Pope John Paul II 
April 17, 2017

“Do not abandon yourselves to despair. We are the Easter people and hallelujah is our song.” 
― Pope John Paul II

With the title “Easter People” come responsibilities! -
http://www.humanityforprisoners.blogspot.com

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Easter Sunday Verse 

April 16, 2017
 As they entered the tomb, they saw a young man dressed in a white robe sitting on the right side, and they were alarmed. 
 “Don’t be alarmed,” he said. “You are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who was crucified. He has risen! He is not here. See the place where they laid him. 
 But go, tell his disciples and Peter, ‘He is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him, just as he told you.’ ”
Mark 16:5-7

Some thoughts about Easter and prisoners:   http://www.humanityforprisoners.blogspot.com
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Starting the Week with George Washington

April 10,. 2017 
"My first wish is to see this plague of mankind, war, banished from the earth."
George Washington

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​Sunday Verse 

April 9, 2017
"Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things."
Philippians 4:8

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HFP Blog

April 7, 2017

​Wrongful convictions? That’s how we got started! See today’s blog http://humanityforprisoners.blogspot.com/

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Starting the Week with Sir Walter Scott

April 3, 2017

“Oh, what a tangled web we weave...when first we practice to deceive.” 
― Walter Scott

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Sunday Verse

April 2, 2017

"See! The winter is past;
the rains are over and gone.
Flowers appear on the earth;
the season of singing has come,
the cooing of doves
is heard in our land."
Song of Solomon 2:11-12

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Starting the Week with Gandhi

March 27, 2017

“When I despair, I remember that all through history the way of truth and love have always won. There have been tyrants and murderers, and for a time, they can seem invincible, but in the end, they always fall. Think of it--always.” 
― Mahatma Gandhi

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Sunday Verse

March 26, 2017

"As for you, brothers, do not grow weary in doing good."
2 Thessalonians 3:13

Peace on earth? Not much, but HFP found amazing efforts behind bars! See today’s blog - 
http://humanityforprisoners.blogspot.com/

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HFP Blog

March 24, 2017

True, lotsa problems on the national level...but things behind bars aren’t all that great, either.  See today’s blog - http://humanityforprisoners.blogspot.com/
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Starting the Week with Albert Einstein

March 20, 2017
"The world is a dangerous place, not because of those who do evil, but because of those who look on and do nothing." 
  — Albert Einstein
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Sunday Verse

March 19, 2017

"Give justice to the weak and the fatherless; maintain the right of the afflicted and the destitute."
Psalm 82:3 

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Starting the Week with Jürgen Moltmann
March 13, 2017
"Hope is lived when it comes alive, when we go outside of ourselves and, in joy and pain take part in the lives of others."
Jürgen Moltmann

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Sunday Verse

March 12, 2017

"Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, 4 who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God."
II Corinthians 1:3-4

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HFP Yarn Program Keeps On Giving!
March 10, 2017
Supporters of HFP are well aware of our yarn program.  Every year our volunteers collect hundreds of pounds of unused

spools of yarn from a carpet factory, which we then donate to various hobby-craft programs in Michigan prisons.  At

Parnall Correctional Facility in Jackson, a group of veterans knit and crochet for charity.  Here’s a message we just

received:
"I want to thank you for the donations for our programs here at Parnall. We have made and delivered well over 250 lap

blankets and afghans to the Veteran Center and homeless shelters. We really appreciate all you have done. Our

members want to pass along their thanks as well."

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​Starting the Week with St. Francis of Assisi
March 6, 2017
"Start by doing what's necessary; then do what's possible; and suddenly you are doing the impossible." 
St. Francis of Assisi

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Sunday Verse
March 5, 2017
"When justice is done, it is a joy to the righteous but terror to evildoers."
Proverbs 21:15

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HFP on WYCE

March 2, 2017

Tune to WYCE Radio - 88.1 FM, Wyoming, Grand Rapids, this coming Friday, March 3 at 12:30pm to hear a one on one interview with Doug Tjapkes, founder of Humanity for Prisoners. Tjapkes will be sharing what it means to provide one on one advocacy for people serving time in Michigan's prisons. The episode will also be available online on Friday!

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Piper Kerman is Here Tuesday!
March 1, 2017
In less than one week, Humanity for Prisoners is proud to welcome best-selling author Piper Kerman to West Michigan for a special speaking appearance.
Kerman, author of the best-seller "Orange is the New Black: My Year in a Women’s Prison," will speak Tuesday at 7 pm at Fountain Street Church in Grand Rapids. The book has been adapted by Jenji Kohan into an Emmy Award-winning original series for Netflix. Piper works with nonprofits, philanthropies, and other organizations working to raise interest and knowledge about solitary confinement and the challenges women prisoners face.
Tickets are still available for this event online HERE or in person at The Bookman in Grand Haven (715 Washington Ave.) and Schuler Books in Grand Rapids (2660 28th Street SE).
We look forward to seeing you next Tuesday!

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Starting the Week with Albert Schweitzer

February 27, 2017

"I don't know what your destiny will be, but one thing I know: the only ones among you who will be really happy are those who will have sought and found how to serve."
Albert Schweitzer

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Sunday Verse

February 26, 2017

“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud."
1 Corinthians 13:4

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Restorative Justice Conference March 4
February 24, 2017
The Saint Benedict Institute is hosting “Hope for Restoration: Radical Hospitality and Prison Reform,” a day-long conference on restorative justice, on Saturday, March 4, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the Maas Center at Hope College, Holland, Michigan.
The public will be able to do something that the event’s organizers cannot: attend. The conference was conceived and organized by inmates from the Richard A. Handlon Correctional Facility in Ionia, who will have a chance to watch recordings of the proceedings later.
The conference’s keynote speakers will be Ted Lewis of the Center for Restorative Justice and Peacemaking at the University of Minnesota; Kristen Deede Johnson, associate professor of theology and Christian formation at Western Theological Seminary; and Eric Boldiszar, Handlon inmate and Calvin Prison Initiative student, through a pre-recorded presentation.
Other speakers and panelists include Bishop David J. Walkowiak, Diocese of Grand Rapids; Rep. David LaGrand, state representative (D) for Grand Rapids; Rep. Joe Haveman, former state representative (R) for Holland; Troy Rienstra of Network for Real Change; Warden DeWayne Burton of Richard A. Handlon Correctional Facility; Tricia Worrell, director of prison and jail ministry, Diocese of Grand Rapids; and Julie Bylsma and Todd Cioffi of Calvin Prison Initiative.
In addition to the Saint Benedict Institute, the conference is being presented in partnership with Hope College, Calvin College, Calvin Seminary, the Calvin Prison Initiative and the Corpus Christi Foundation.  The Calvin Prison Initiative is a partnership between Calvin College and Calvin Theological Seminary that provides a Christian liberal arts education to inmates at Handlon.  A total of 40 inmates are participating in the initiative, which leads to a Bachelor of Arts degree in ministry leadership. At the request of these inmate students, Humanity for Prisoners will have an information table at this event as well. 
For more information, or to register, visit http://bit.ly/2kG51Ap

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The Gift That Keeps On Giving

February 22, 2017
Supporters of HFP are well aware of our yarn program.  Every year our volunteers collect hundreds of pounds of unused spools of yarn from a carpet factory, which we then donate to various hobby-craft programs in Michigan prisons.  At Parnall Correctional Facility in Jackson, a group of veterans knit and crochet for charity.  Here’s a message we just received:
"I want to thank you for the donations for our programs here at Parnall. We have made and delivered well over 250 lap blankets and afghans to the Veteran Center and homeless shelters. We really appreciate all you have done. Our members want to pass along their thanks as well."

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Starting the Week with Benjamin Franklin
February 20, 2017

"A man wrapped up in himself makes a very small bundle."
~Benjamin Franklin

HFP cares:  See our latest entry on the HFP Blog - 
http://humanityforprisoners.blogspot.com/

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Sunday Verse

February 19, 2017
“These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”
John 16:33

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Starting the Week with Frederick Buechner

February 13, 2017

"Compassion is sometimes the fatal capacity for feeling what it is like to live inside somebody else's skin. It is the knowledge that there can never really be any peace and joy for me until there is peace and joy finally for you too."
Frederick Buechner

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Sunday Verse

February 12, 2017

"God reigns over the nations; God is seated on his holy throne."
Psalms 48:7

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It’s a two-way street!
The HFP staff and volunteers felt exhausted at the end of January, after appeals to our office from prisoners or their loved ones topped all records.  We were contacted more than 360 times last month, topping the previous monthly high by about 100!  We take pride in our prompt responses, so this week checked our JPay records to see just how many messages we sent to prisoners in January, 2017.  Nearly 350!  Action with compassion!
Locked in Solidarity
Tomorrow, HFP joins our friends from Community enCompass and 70x7 Life Recovery Muskegon for the Locked in Solidarity Event at Bethany Church in Muskegon from 11-1. The event is a national prayer and advocacy day highlighting the injustice of mass incarceration. For more information, visit  https://www.facebook.com/events/105705026604541/

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Starting the Week with Hosea Ballou

February 6, 2017

"Honest and courageous people have very little to say about either their courage or their honesty."
- Hosea Ballou

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Sunday Verse

February 5, 2017

"Pride leads to disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom. Honesty guides good people; dishonesty destroys treacherous people."
Proverbs 11:2-3

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HFP Memory
February 2, 2017

10 years ago Doug undertook an effort to help an elderly, mentally challenged Michigan inmate who had been wrongly convicted, and who was receiving cruel treatment by prison staff.  He drove across the state to be in the courtroom when a judge freed him.  As we ended 2016, HFP received this nice note from his sister:
 
"It’s been 8 years since my beloved brother has passed.  I miss him greatly...think of him so often.  I am so grateful he was a free man when his time came.  I don’t think I could have ever gotten over the hurt if he had not been released for a crime he never committed.  I want to say thank you, again, for being a beacon of light in his darkest days.  Truly God blessed us when he chose you to become the warrior for those whose voices have fallen silent on deaf ears.  May you be blessed in the New Year with strength and health, and encouraged by continuing success in the treatment of those less fortunate!  May God bless you always.  Love, PT"​​

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Piper Kerman Tickets on Sale!

February 1, 2017
Humanity for Prisoners is thrilled to welcome best-selling author Piper Kerman, author of "Orange is the New Black," to Fountain Street Church in Grand Rapids for a speaking engagement at 7 p.m. on on March 7. Tickets for this highly-anticipated event are now on sale online
HEREas well as at The Bookman, 715 Washington Ave. in Grand Haven. General Admission tickets are $25 in advance, $10 for students, and all tickets will be $30 at the door the day of the event. 
 Sponsorship opportunities, including a chance to meet Piper, are also available for this event! Email Matt at the Humanity for Prisoners office (matt@humanityforprisoners.org) to get in touch with the event committee. 

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​Yarn to Cotton!

January 31, 2017
Mindy, Activities Director at G. Robert Cotton Correctional Facility in Jackson, welcomes an HFP gift. 

Volunteer Pete VanderArk recently dropped off hundreds of pounds of partially used spools of yarn for

the prison hobby-craft program.  Each year, HFP volunteers collect this yarn from a carpet manufacturer,

and make deliveries to various Michigan prisons.  Inmates knit and crochet products for various

charitable organizations on the outside.

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Starting the Week with Courage

January 30, 2017

“Bravado may stir the crowd, but courage needs no audience.” 
― T.F. Hodge

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Sunday Verse

January 29, 2017

"Thus says the Lord: 'Let not the wise man boast in his wisdom, let not the mighty man boast in his might, let not the rich man boast in his riches,'"
Jeremiah 9:23

Doug Tjapkes and Dan Rooks went to prison yesterday.  Read today’s HFP blog:
 http://humanityforprisoners.blogspot.com/

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#LockedInSolidarity February 9

January 27, 2017
Hebrews 13 states, "Continue to remember those in prison as if you were together with them in prison, and those who are mistreated as if you yourselves were suffering."
Thursday, February 9th is CCDA - Christian Community Development Association's annual Locked in Solidarity event, a national prayer and advocacy day highlighting the injustice of mass incarceration. Please join us as we stand in solidarity with our brothers and sisters who are incarcerated, formerly incarcerated, their families and loved ones. Get a sneak peak at the new film "Remembering Prisoners" that will be shown at the Muskegon Locked in Solidarity Event on 2/9: http://www.urbanentry.org/ue6-remembering-prisoners.html.
"Locked in Solidarity is an opportunity for us to create the space needed to listen to stories of people in our communities who are directly impacted, to learn about the greater impact of mass incarceration's, to pray, and to engage public sector officials who have the power and position to impact change."
This event is organized by Community enCompass, Humanity for Prisoners and 70x7 Life Recovery Muskegon.

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HFP Blog: A March for Prisoners?

January 25, 2017

Would anyone consider marching for prisoners?  See the latest entry on the HFP blog:  http://humanityforprisoners.blogspot.com/

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Starting the Week with James Bryce

January 23, 2017

"Our country is not the only thing to which we owe our allegiance.  It is also owed to justice and to humanity.  Patriotism consists not in waving the flag, but in striving that our country shall be righteous as well as strong."
~James Bryce

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Sunday Verse

January 22, 2017

"Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer."
Romans 12:12

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Starting the Week with MLK
January 16, 2017
“I refuse to accept the view that mankind is so tragically bound to the starlessmidnight of racism and war that the bright daybreak of peace and brotherhood can never become a reality. I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word.” 
Martin Luther King Jr.

Message from Doug:  It’s certainly no secret that MLK’s I HAVE A DREAM speech made a strong impact on my thinking.  At age 80, and in my third career, I, too, can still dream.  For the past 16 years prisoners have touched and continue to touch my life daily.  So on Dr. King’s day, I’d like to share my wishes, my dreams: 
 http://humanityforprisoners.blogspot.com/

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Sunday verse

January 15, 2017

"Do nothing out of rivalry or conceit, but in humility consider others as more important than yourselves. Everyone should look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others."
Philippians 2:3-4

We don’t talk much about our failures. See today's post on the HFP Blog:
 http://humanityforprisoners.blogspot.com/

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HFP: Getting Results!

January 11, 2017

A quick example of what your support of HFP allows us to do on a daily basis:

1. A whistle-blower calls HFP to inform us that inmate Karen was denied her colostomy bags, and instead was given a bio-hazard sack, held in place by maxi-pads to collect her waste.  The inmate is elderly, and struggles with both mental and physical issues.

2. Within 10 minutes HFP contacts state and federal corrections and justice authorities.

3. Two hours later, proper supplies are provided!

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Starting the Week with Ralph Waldo Emerson

January 9, 2017

“Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.”
~Ralph Waldo Emerson

A few disappointments don’t get us down!  See today’s HFP blog: http://humanityforprisoners.blogspot.com/

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Sunday verse

January 8, 2017

"Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand."
Isaiah 41:10

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Off To A Great Start!
January 4, 2017
By the time 2017 was just 3 days old:

- HFP Staffers had already responded to more than two dozen contacts by Michigan prisoners or their families;
- an HFP Board member and her husband had picked up 800 pounds of partial spools of yarn from a carpet factory, free of charge, to be donated to Michigan prison hobby-craft programs;
- and an HFP Volunteer had corrected, reviewed and tweaked THREE commutation applications prepared by prisoners. 

We’re off and running!  The father of a girl in the state prison system said today:  We would be lost without the work you and your organization do!
Thanks to your amazing support, we’re going to touch more lives than ever this year!

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Starting the Week with Bishop Matthew Simpson
January 2, 2017
“If this is to be a Happy New Year, a year of usefulness, a year in which we shall live to make this earth better, it is because God will direct our pathway. How important then, to feel our dependence upon Him!”
- Matthew Simpson, Bishop

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Sunday/New Year Verse

January 1, 2017
“Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail.  They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.  I say to myself, 'The Lord is my portion; therefore I will wait for him.'” 
Lamentations 3: 22-24

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A Typical HFP Story

December 29, 2016
Humanity for Prisoners does its best to try to help inmates in filling out the application form for commutation of sentence.  Over the weekend, we received this request from a prisoner who has been behind bars since 1998:
"I’m sorry to bother you with my problems but I honestly have nowhere else to turn.  I don’t have the brains to do the commutation application, nor anyone to help in doing it.  I have no living family members.  I have no friends on the outside.  No future in job placement.  Not even a place to live.  I’m 62 years of age.  In 1999 I saved a Corrections Officer’s life.  By saving an officer’s life I was stabbed, and have been repeatedly assaulted.  I am again in protective custody, so I can’t get any help from the prison library.  I have not had a visit since 1998.  I’m a Christian, and if not for the love of Jesus I would have taken my life long ago.  Have a wonderful Christmas!"
HFP is on the move, immediately sending this prisoner guidelines on how to write a commutation. When the time is right, HFP will also completely review a rough draft and make recommendations before the prisoner sends in the final application.

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You did it! 
December 28, 2016

Thanks to you, our incredible supporters, Humanity for Prisoners is happy to announce we have surpassed our Year End Matching Funds Goal! On behalf of Doug, Matt and the HFP Board of Directors, we thank everyone that has so generously given in 2016.
If you haven't given, there is still time to get a 2016 tax deduction with a gift before the new year! Just because we've hit our goal doesn't mean the requests stop coming in. Yesterday alone the HFP office received 11 more requests for assistance. Your year-end gift will help set us on the right path for 2017. 
Finally, be sure to check out the latest HFP blog from Doug, where he shows prisoners are not exempt from holiday obituary pain:
 http://humanityforprisoners.blogspot.com/

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Christmas Verse
"So it was, that while they were there, the days were completed for her to be delivered.  And she brought forth her firstborn Son, and wrapped Him in swaddling cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn."
Luke 2:6-7
Merry Christmas to all of our friends from the HFP gang!
And please don’t forget those for whom Christmas won’t be so merry.  See our blog today:
 http://humanityforprisoners.blogspot.com/

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​Prisoner holiday greetings to HFP

December 24, 2016
When Michigan inmates flood us with holiday cards and messages, they don’t just wish us Merry Christmas and Happy New Year:


 Thank you for all your efforts on our behalf.  You have made my world a little better…
 Thank you for taking my case and helping me.
 Please know that at this time of the year there are those who don’t have anyone to wish this kind of cheer.  So, please take a moment to pray for them, as well.
 You’re so thought…you do such great work for people who really need help.
 We appreciate all that you do!
 I wanted to thank all those at HFP who have made our days much happier and easier because of what you have done for us.
 I truly appreciate people who will take the time to help people like me!

 
As our loyal supporters, these grateful words go to YOU as well!  Holiday Blessings!
For a Christmas Eve treat, see today’s special blog:  
 www.humanityforprisoners.blogspot.com

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Should Prisoners Celebrate Christmas?
December 23, 2016
In the latest post on the HFP Blog, Doug shares some thoughts on why prisoners SHOULD celebrate Christmas:
 http://humanityforprisoners.blogspot.com/

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​Can we make it 20?
December 22, 2016
As notice went out yesterday that HFP had increased its matching funds campaign by $3,000, another HFP donor stepped forward to up the challenge even more - adding $2,000 more to the year-end match to make it an even $20,000! For those who have already given, we can't thank you enough for your generosity. For those who haven't, you still have a chance to have your donation doubled! Click HERE or mail us at PO Box 687, Grand Haven, MI 49417.
With your generosity, we can continue to get messages like these through the holidays:
"I truly appreciate you for all the good works and compassion you extend to those of us in the belly of the beast.  Here's hoping you and yours have a blessed and joyous holiday season. Take care.  In Jesus, The reason for the Season, Mr. S."

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Our Matching Goal has Grown!
December 21, 2016
The staff and board of directors at Humanity for Prisoners would like to thank everyone that has so generously given to our year-end matching funds campaign. As of yesterday, we have surpassed our original goal of $15,000 raised!
BUT WE’RE NOT DONE!
If you haven’t made your year-end gift yet, there’s still time to have it doubled! We are excited to announce we have received an additional challenge of $3,000 – making our new goal $18,000 before the 31st.
HFP continues to use your gifts to touch lives on a daily basis. Letters like this are coming in every day:
“It’s a great pleasure for me to wish you a very Merry Christmas and a happy, healthy and successful New Year!  I also want to send a special thanks for all your help, spiritual guidance, friendship and believing in me during this most difficult time in my life.  I feel truly blessed to have you as friends.”
You can make your year-end donation online HERE or by mail to PO Box 687, Grand Haven, MI 49417.

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Starting the Week with Benjamin Franklin
December 19, 2016
“How many observe Christ's birthday! How few, His precepts!” 
― Benjamin Franklin
Some thoughts on keeping Christ in Christmas.  See the HFP blog:  http://humanityforprisoners.blogspot.com/

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Sunday verse
December 18, 2016
"But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah,
who are too little to be among the clans of Judah,
from you shall come forth for me
one who is to be ruler in Israel,
whose coming forth is from of old,
from ancient days."
Micah 5:2

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Good news from Lansing!

December 16, 2016
HFP is excited to share two pieces of good news from our state capitol.
Number one, the Judicial Veto Bill has now been signed by the Governor, and takes immediate effect.  House Bill 5273 had passed the Senate on December 7.  The bill prohibits a judge who is the successor to the sentencing judge, from vetoing a life’s parole.  The sentencing judge still retains that power, however.  The successor judge will receive noticed of a scheduled Public Hearing, and can still state an objection to the Parole Board, but that objection will not be binding, as in the past.  Sincere thanks to our friends at CAPPS (Citizens Alliance on Prisons and Public Spending) for their hard work on behalf of this measure.
And number two, the Wrongful Conviction Compensation Bill has passed the state legislature, and now awaits the Governor’s signature.  He’s expected to sign the bill, SB 291, which will provide $50,000 per year for each year spent in prison to someone wrongfully imprisoned for a crime he or she did not commit!  Under the fledgling law, anyone who serves time for a crime he or she did not commit will receive $50,000 per year spent in prison, in tax-free dollars.  Damages, such as lost wages and medical expenses, would also be included.
Thanks from HFP and many, many prisoners, to all who contributed to the success of these two measures.
Getting bombarded by charities for your year-end gift?  Some thoughts in the latest HFP blog:  http://humanityforprisoners.blogspot.com/

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Starting the Week with Oren Arnold
December 12, 2016
“Christmas gift suggestions: to your enemy, forgiveness. To an opponent, tolerance. To a friend, your heart. To a customer, service. To all, charity. To every child, a good example. To yourself, respect.”
~ Oren Arnold

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Sunday verse

December 11, 2016

"...live in harmony with one another;  be sympathetic, love as brothers, be compassionate and humble.  Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult, but with blessing..."
I Peter 3:8-9

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Join Us Friday

December 7, 2016
This Friday, Humanity for Prisoners welcomes the Grand Rapids Choir of Men & Boys to St. John's Episcopal Church in Grand Haven for an Advent Service of Lessons & Carols.
This version of the Lessons & Carols service has been designed by Scott Bosscher, Artistic Director of the Grand Rapids Choir of Men & Boys. Friday's guest conductor will be Dr. Richard Webster, the acclaimed Director of Music and Organist at Trinity Episcopal Church, Copley Square, in Boston. Musical selections from the Advent and Christmas seasons, along with prayers and scripture readings, will be featured. The Very Rev. Jared C. Cramer, rector of St. John’s Episcopal (who also serves on the Board and as the Treasurer for HFP) will assist in the service. There will be a free will offering during the evening for Humanity for Prisoners. This is the final fundraising event for HFP this year, and all donations will be doubled as part of HFP's year-end Matching Funds Campaign. Please invite friends and family to join us!
The concert begins at 7 p.m., and St. John's Episcopal is located at 524 Washington Ave in Grand Haven. St. John’s Episcopal Church has great passion for the ministry of Humanity for Prisoners and is looking forward to hosting this event and the reception that will follow.

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Starting the Week with Thomas Fuller

December 5, 2016
“He that will not sail till all dangers are over must never put out to sea.”
Thomas Fuller

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Sunday verse

December 4, 2016

"Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong."
I Corinthians 16:13

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Former Prisoner Doing Her Best

December 2, 2016
Positive thoughts from a former prisoner incorporating HFP into her class work:
"I am doing an essay on your group for my college class. I was incarcerated and want to be a voice. I need any and all information about your group emailed to me. Plus I need to know how you communicate through your organization. I really need some more info then what I can find on the internet. Plus I will have some questions for the group founder if possible. Please have him email me"
HFP mourns the loss of another former prisoner this week.  Could we have done more? Reflections on the death of Vivian in today’s HFP blog:
 http://humanityforprisoners.blogspot.com/

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​It's Giving Tuesday!
November 29, 2016
Once again this year, HUMANITY FOR PRISONERS is participating in GIVING TUESDAY, a global day dedicated to giving.  Today is the day!  Today is the day that you can touch the life of a prisoner in Michigan.  With your help, we can match the offer of a generous couple who have agreed to double all funds donated between now and December 31.
If you haven’t received our year-end letter announcing the matching grant and explaining our program, our needs and our exciting future, we invite you to
 click here.
Today, on GIVING TUESDAY, you can make a difference.  Doubly so, with our exciting matching grant.
It’s easier than ever to donate.  Just
 click here to make your special year-end contribution.

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Starting the week with Dietrich Bonhoeffer

November 28, 2016
"Evil is itself evil: God will not hold us guiltless. Not to speak is to speak. Not to act is to act."
-Dietrich Bonhoeffer

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Sunday Verse

November 27, 2016

"Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful."
Colossians 3:15

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Happy Thanksgiving from HFP!
November 24, 2016
With warm Thanksgiving wishes from the HFP gang:
"Give thanks not just on Thanksgiving Day, but every day of your life. Appreciate and never take for granted all that you have." 
Catherine Pulsifer 
Thankful for prisoners? No, but blessed by their friendship! Read today's HFP Blog:  http://humanityforprisoners.blogspot.com/

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Starting the Week with Joe Biden

November 21, 2016

"For too long in this society, we have celebrated unrestrained individualism over common community."
Joe Biden

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Sunday Verse

November 20, 2016

"Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 
"And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."
Philippians 4:6-7

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Smart & Safe Parole Reform
November 16, 2016
Our friends at CAPPS have recently put together an informational letter on parole reform and what it means for residents of Michigan. Please take a moment to look HERE at the letter. If you agree, please consider contacting your State Senator - which you can find at http://www.senate.michigan.gov/fysbyaddress.html

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Starting the Week with Ralph Waldo Emerson

November 14, 2016

“Sorrow looks back, Worry looks around, Faith looks up” 
― Ralph Waldo Emerson

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Sunday verse

November 13, 2016

"And which of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life's span?
Luke 12:25

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​HFP Blog - 80th Birthday Observations

November 11, 2016
As we celebrate the 80th birthday of HFP Founder and President Doug Tjapkes, Doug shares some of his birthday observations in today's edition of the HFP Blog -
 http://humanityforprisoners.blogspot.com/
And a reminder today is the final day in HFP's 80 for 80 campaign, seeking 80 donations of $80 for Doug's 80th birthday! You can donate here:
 http://www.humanityforprisoners.org/donate.html

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Final Three Days!

November 9, 2016

This Friday, November 11, is the 80th birthday of Humanity for Prisoners President and Founder Doug Tjapkes and will also bring an end to HFP's "80 for 80" campaign. The goal has been simple, finding 80 donors willing to give $80 to give HFP a financial boost through to the end of the year. 
This week, HFP passed 2,300 requests for assistance on the year. With 51 days left in 2016, HFP has now surpassed our 2015 total and each day we will add to our new annual record for such requests. The demand for help has never been greater. Your gifts help make these records possible!
For those who have already given, we can't thank you enough for your kindness and support. For those who haven't, please consider visiting
 http://www.humanityforprisoners.org/donate.html and sending your tax-deductible gift today!

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Election Day

"The vote is the most powerful instrument ever devised by man for breaking down injustice and destroying the terrible walls which imprison men because they are different from other men."
- Lyndon B. Johnson

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Starting the Week with Albert Schweitzer

November 7, 2016

​"At times our own light goes out and is rekindled by a spark from another person. Each of us has cause to think with deep gratitude of those who have lighted the flame within us."
- Albert Schweitzer

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Sunday verse

November 6, 2016

"Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up."
Galatians 6:9

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HFP Blog - After Release

November 4, 2016

Lest you think a prisoner is free once he/she walks out the door after serving time, ‘tain’t necessarily so!  HFP invites you to take a look at reality in today’s blog: http://humanityforprisoners.blogspot.com/

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Thank You/80 for 80 Update

November 2, 2016
The Humanity for Prisoners Board of Directors would like to thank everyone that came out to Friday's celebration

of the upcoming 80th birthday of HFP Founder and President Doug Tjapkes. It was a fantastic evening filled with

music, friends and supporters, highlighted by speeches from HFP Board Chair Cindy Anderson, former prisoner

Joe Evans and former HFP Board Chair Dan Rooks (pictured above with Doug). 
The evening also served as a great kickoff to HFP's 80 for 80 campaign. The goal is to have 80 donations of at

least $80 in honor of Doug's 80th birthday, which is coming up on November 11. The funds raised will help offset

funds that were lost by HFP's two canceled fundraisers this year. Thanks to your generous gifts, we are already

33% to goal with 9 days to go! To send your gift, you can give through Paypal on the HFP website at 

http://www.humanityforprisoners.org/donate.html, or send your gift to PO Box 687, Grand Haven, MI 49417.
Our sincere thanks to everyone who came out to make Friday such a special evening for Doug, his family and

everyone who works with and is served by HFP!

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