Another day in prison health care
July 18, 2017
No question about it.  When getting medical treatment in prison, you gotta have a sense of humor.  Take Ryan, for instance.  He’s dealing with cancer, and it hasn’t been fun.  The other day, he was informed that he’s due for surgery in a few days:  radical robotic prostatectomy.  Problem is, they removed his prostate in May!  Meanwhile, the staff wasn’t pleased about his resistance, and advised him to take this seriously.  Said Ryan:  “I’ll go in if you demand it, but if they find a prostate in me something is really screwed up!”  The medical staffer told him that was downright rude, and shouldn’t presume to know what the doctors did.  But, cooler heads prevailed.  No surgery.  A chagrined nurse apologized and said records will get properly updated.

​__________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

​Kind words for HFP
July 14, 2017
"WHAT YOU’RE DOING TO HELP THE GUYS IN HERE IS WONDERFUL! WE'RE NOT GARBAGE IN HERE. WE MATTER IN GOD’S EYES. I STILL HOLD ON TO HAVING A LOVELY, BEAUTIFUL LIFE ONCE I'M RELEASED, THAT'S WHAT I WANT FOR ME. :)"

​__________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Unclean food trays at WHV
July 13, 2017
A note from a client at Michigan's only prison for women:
"I am writing to inform you of the deplorable way Trinity has been allowing their workers to run the WHV kitchen. Recently, food trays were not washed and sanitized properly. the dish-tank was broke down, and the trays were being washed improperly in the pot tank. In addition to that, other trays were only being sprayed off from eaten food and sent out to be reused. I am concerned about my health and the risk of communicable diseases due to the improper sanitation and sterilization of food trays and the cavalier attitude of the Trinity supervisors."

​__________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

​A Prisoner Thanks HFP
July 7, 2017
"I am so grateful for all that you do for the entire prison culture.  You help in ways that can’t even be expressed.  Just knowing that there is someone out in the world who will read our letters and have compassion for whatever issue that we may have is amazing!"

​__________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Typical prisoner message
July 6, 2017
A client of HFP provides a typical message the office receives:
"I started a job in the kitchen here last Monday (washing dishes) for 23.5 cent an hour Mon thru Fri 5:45 AM to 11:15 AM. It's not the most lucrative job in the world but at least my days are more structured.  It took me a little while to adjust to this facility but that was mostly because before I got a job I just had a lot of idle time on my hands and that was getting kind of frustrating. I lost an Aunt a few weeks ago but I've been gone from my family for so long that it's hard to even mourn properly. I feel like I don't even know how to."

​__________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Nasty food at Duane Waters!
July 5, 2017
A friend of HFP was transferred from Coldwater to the Duane Waters prison medical clinic for treatment of a staph infection.  He lost weight during his one-week stay.  Here’s his reason:
"The food in Duane Waters is horrible.  I thought the food here in Lakeland was bad, and rest assured it is bad. But the food they gave me in Waters, just looking at some of those dishes they tried to feed me, turned my stomach. So, I surely wasn't going to try and eat it no matter how hungry I was. Rest assured believe me  I was hungry. I ate an apple, or a couple slices of bread, with a lot of ice water and called it a day. Hence the seven pound weight loss."

​__________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Not a nice place to be
June 29, 2017
A well-educated prisoner who speaks four languages and who was planning to attend law school before being wrongly convicted, describes his surroundings this way:
"I believe that if there is a hell, it can never be worse than this.  To know that you are alive but dead to the world.  To know that you can live and see what beauty there is in life, but denied to make a beautiful life.  The horrors of others’ convictions and mental capacities.  It once upon a time reminded me of DANTE’S INFERNO."

​__________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

HFP’s Medical Consultant scores a win!
June 28, 2017
Earlier this year, a client's mother reached out to us concerned about her daughter's diabetes. HFP Medical Consultant Dr. Robert Bulten reviewed her charts and advocated for her health care. Late last week, a note arrived to HFP:
"I want to take a minute and Thank You for all of the help you have given us regarding my daughter. After she had a very bad seizure that resulted in injuries she was transported to the hospital emergency room. Shortly after this visit she has been seen by another physician at the prison and her insulin was adjusted she has NOT had a seizure since May 8th. All it took was for someone to listen and adjust her meds accordingly and so many seizures could have been prevented. Thanks again."

​__________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

A prisoner's lament re the Parole Board
June 20, 2017
A client writes to HFP:
"I’ve got 41 years served to date.  I’ve been eligible for parole after I served my first 10 years (that was in 1986).  I’ve received six 5-year flops (continuations).  I see the Parole Board again in 2020.  I’m hoping to get my hands on my file to find out what I keep getting these flops.  When I see the Parole Board again I will have served 45 calendar years on a parolable life sentence that I received for a crime committed at the age of 15!"

​__________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Making Plans!
June 16, 2017
A woman at Huron Valley is granted a parole, and her re-entry plans are complete:
"I am very THANKFUL FOR ALL YOUR HELP AND I WILL BE FOREVER INDEBTED TO YOU ALL AT HUMANITY FOR PRISONERS. YOUR TEAM IS OUR FAMILY AND I/ WE APPRECIATE YOU ALL!"

​__________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Mail problems at Huron Valley
June 15, 2017
A report from a client at the women's prison:
"Numerous people are getting mail several weeks to a couple months after postmarks. Even though the issue has been grieved by many the response is always the same. No problems are found. The 17th I received a letter postmarked the 1st. I have met numerous women who've gotten mail months after postmarks. And rejections aren't even being given for reject mail until after we realize that we are missing mail or contents. Inexcusable."

​__________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

When prisoners take the initiative!
June 14, 2017
A motivated client writes to HFP:
"Well, it finally happened. This morning, as I scrubbed the walls around the microwave and toaster area, guys offered to help clean. It was the fourth time I've just grabbed a bucket and cleaned, initially to some mockery or perplexed questioning. No longer. So, tomorrow, there are five of us who are going to clean all of the walls, with a couple more offering to haul buckets, or mop behind us. See, sometimes all it takes is a willingness to set an example. Honestly, the walls aren't nearly as dirty as those in the last prison.  But if we have to live here, why be dirty at all?"

​__________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

The kudos we love!
June 9, 2017
A client writes to HFP:
"I would just like for you all to know that you are some of my favorite people alive.
"I was sitting up thinking about all of my favorites , and you all manifested onto my finger tips. Please give all there my deepest regards and respects. You should know that I invest a lot of time in the studies of St. Francis and I have very deep interest in the art of reflection . With that being said , the traits that you all possess , the methods in which you apply , the care and concern that you display , can only be a divine love . You all remind me of the Shepherd who left the 99 sheep behind just to go back for the 1 who got lost along the way . The one who got lost still has value in your eyes . You all still do for the " least of these , " and WE all thank you from not only inside the belly of the beast , but also from the bottom of our hearts . I know that you are busy , so I'll end this letter praying for good health , and many days of success . Please take care and take it easy."

​__________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Voice from the past
June 7, 2017
HFP helped an inmate locate and reconnect with a long-lost family member:
"Just wanted to inform you that I got a letter from my daughter today. She was at the address that you provided me with. She finally wrote and I was very happy to get the letter. I just wanted to inform you that I heard from her and thank you for your time and efforts. If there ever is anything I can do for HFP please do not hesitate to ask!"

​__________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

HFP has a heart!
June 6, 2017
While our staff was processing dozens of requests to help with commutation applications, medical problems and Parole Board issues, came this personal request from Richard:
"I am writing to ask a favor if at all possible. The girl that I was pretty close to was killed in a hit and run accident.  She was not very computer literate so I have no pictures of her on my JPay.  Can I send you 3 photos of her, and some of our personal memories and hang out spots, then have you put them on the computer and send them back to me on JPay so that I have them on my tablet?"
You bet we can, Richard!  You bet, we can!

__________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Women in cold water!
June 1, 2017
An update from the women's prison:
"We have been without hot or even lukewarm water for the majority of the past 10 days. Last week the excuse was they were waiting on a part.. now no one has heard why. The ultimate issue is that we should not have to live like this. The hot water faucet is actually giving colder water than the cold faucet. They have, several times, had the hot working. But, it lasts, on average, less than 2 hours. Today it lasted longer but the water was so scalding hot that those who did stay in came out looking like first degree burns. Is there anything anyone can do to help? There have been calls made but lies have been told that it was fixed, not the truth, that it was temporary and short lived."

HFP Blog: Inmates convicted of sex offenses struggle behind bars.  Our thoughts:
http://humanityforprisoners.blogspot.com/

__________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Problem of the hearing impaired
May 23, 2017
A prisoner with hearing issues writes to HFP:
"The problem I’m having here is that the TTY phones are not compatible for me.  The cord phones won’t work with digital hearing aids, because they don’t have a telephone mode button on them to silence the noise out.  I just received this new digital hearing aid. The old on had a telephone mode button on it, but they don’t make those any more.  The audiologist said my hearing will work ONLY with a cordless phone.  I know that it’s very expensive to update the TTY phones to cordless phones.  For now, with my family, when I call, they listen and I talk.  When it’s important, I may ask a friend to help me understand what they are saying.  I like to hear my family’s voices, especially that of my mother."

​__________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

​Problems with Michigan’s controversial Sex Offender Registry, Part 2
May 19, 2017
An HFP client explains the challenges he's facing finding housing:
"The place I'm trying to go to is a family friend.  She is like a sister to me and has been here from day one, even more since my mother and father have passed away.  Now she and her husband are offering me a room to I can get back on my feet, but there is one problem.  There is a child there, and they’re not going to let me go there.  My aunt who also takes care of me lives across the street from a school, which has nothing to do with my case, but I can't go there.  Where are we supposed to go? What are we supposed to do?"
​__________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Problems with Michigan’s controversial Sex Offender Registry
May 18,, 2017
A client of HFP shares the challenges a friend on the sex offender registry is encountering:
"My friend just got his parole and can't go home to his wife and family.  He was going to his and his wife's house...there are no children there.  But the parole officer took it upon his self to look over the households next door to his house and there is a child there which has nothing to do with him or his wife.  He has spent over $2000 to get him a place to come home to.  Now he has to spend more money that he don't have, on top of that he has a few years in flops"

​__________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

More on the drug problem at WHV
May 12, 2017
A recent report to HFP on the drug smuggling issue at the women's prison:
"THIS WEEK THEY CAUGHT THREE YOUNG LADIES IN A CELL SHOOTING UP. ONE OF THOSE YOUNG LADIES I HAD BEEN TRYING TO MENTOR, TRYING TO KEEP HER FROM THE HEROIN IN HERE. HOWEVER IT IS COMING IN FASTER THEN WE CAN STOP IT. AND DESPITE WHAT THE ADMINISTRATION WANTS PEOPLE TO THINK IT ISN’T JUST COMING IN ON VISITS. HOWEVER THERE IS A CERTAIN ATTORNEY THAT WAS BEING PAID TO BRING IT IN. THE YOUNG GIRL THAT I WAS MENTORING WAS CAUGHT WITH THE NEEDLE IN HER ARM WITH DOPE IN IT. SHE DIDN’T WANT TO TELL ON THE REAL DOPE DEALER BECAUSE SHE IS AN ADDICT."

​__________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Whistle-blower retaliation!
May 10, 2017
One of HFP’s whistle-blowers in the women’s prison is not appreciated by the top brass.
"If I was an abused woman I would be cowering in a corner, crying.  Between 9:20 AM and 9:50 AM the Warden went off on me calling me names, trying to humiliate me in front of the whole Warden’s Forum.  He said I don’t tell the truth, I am not to be believed, I should be discredited.  I feel like he’s trying to bully and intimidate me, like if he humiliates me I’ll stop fighting for what’s wrong in here.  When we got this warden we were all so happy, like it was going to make a difference.  It has.  It’s worse!  So sad, because we had hope."

​__________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Cancer patients needing help!

May 9, 2017
This week, two kind and caring inmates contacted HFP on behalf of ailing friends:
 "There is a guy here that was told by the doctor today that, because of the condition of his kidney he only had 2 to 20 months to live. Needless to say, he is interested in filing a medical commutation. He was born in Vietnam and speaks/reads no English. I interpret/write a lot of letters for him. I wanted to put him in touch with you to see what you could do for him."
 And
 "I am writing about a friend who is in dire need of your help. He has gum cancer. It is very advanced and in the past 20 days has grown from his gum into his lip and is now the size of a tennis ball on his face. It is truly unbelievable how fast it is growing. The state is dragging their feet, and are blocking what doctors are recommending.  Can you please do something for this fellow who can’t even eat food?  He needs immediate attention."
HFP is consulting with an oncologist on our advisory board and working diligently to help these prisoners find comfort.

__________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Good food?
May 4, 2017
Fred got transferred from the Thumb CF to Saginaw, and he grumbled about it.  Until he went for breakfast.  We rarely hear words like this!
"Just returned from breakfast. So-o-o full! Choice of cold (bran sticks) or hot (Ralsten) cereal, two slices of bread, apple jelly, butter, milk (white or chocolate), either apple juice or orange juice, and hash browns. That is the regular state menu, but it is how they prepare it here, and the AMOUNT! There was no way I could finish the mound of potatoes with chopped turkey ham. What made them special is they added black pepper, onions, and butter, so there was actually flavor... and it was steaming hot! Seriously, if my friends at Lapeer knew about this they would all try to get an eviction notice and try to get here for the food, if nothing else."

​__________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Can I help?
May 2, 2017
HFP - Even prisoners would like to help!
"Do you all accept donations and if so who would I send one to? You have always been on top of getting me what I've asked for and if I can help out somehow I would like to."

​__________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Unchained Melody
April 28, 2017
A prisoner recently released from solitary confinement writes to HFP:
"It feels great to be out of chains and shackles. Nothing like going outside in the rain, the snow, the wind and the sunshine. Even though we are under these circumstances life is great. Thanks for helping us out. but the mission continues.... it is life."

​__________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

More than one way to smuggle drugs in!
April 27, 2017
In the past year, HFP has received reports of a dramatic increase in drug problems at Michigan’s only prison for women.  This week came this disturbing report:
"HER FEMALE ATTORNEY IS BEING PAID TO BRING DRUGS IN ON HER ATTORNEY CLIENT VISITS!   THEY MAY NOT TELL YOU BUT THAT IS WHERE THEY BOUGHT THE DRUGS THEY WERE CAUGHT WITH TODAY."

​__________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

An inmate appreciates HFP
April 25, 2017
An inmate who recently discovered HFP's services writes to the office:
"Praise the lord, I feel so much more relieved of stress knowing someone is working with me to receive a fair shake. I am not without merit."

​__________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Prisoner appreciation of HFP help
April 20, 2017
A recent note to Humanity for Prisoners:
"Spring is a time of hope, promise, and rebirth. I have renewed hope that God will rescue me from this imprisonment because of your intervention. I will always be grateful that you set the wheels in motion for a miracle to happen! It takes a band of angels to do God's work. Thank you for being one of those angels."

​__________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Not much to eat!
April 19, 2017
A prisoner updates Humanity for Prisoners on recent problems with food service:
"These past few weeks have been something. Easily 2-3 meals a week are subbed. Sometimes the subs don't match the meal replaced in nutrition values. Portions crazy sometimes. One day, out of 4 oz. sausages, they gave us 1 and 1/2 hot dogs (which menu states the dogs are 2 oz.'s each. So not only shorted a full ounce, no buns...ONE slice of bread! And most weeks, couple / three times weekly they keep running out of items. And I don't mean on the last few people coming into the dining hall - I mean full units. Example: Couple of days ago, with the sloppy Joe we were due tater tots. My unit, E, was 7th (out of 8 units). When my unit got to "chow", NO tater tots. They were short tots for two units (that is 360 people!). How can you wind up that short?"

​__________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

HFP’s Commutations Coordinator praised by an inmate! 

Aprili 18, 2017
Holly Honig-Josephson has had an incredibly busy schedule since becoming HFP's new Commutations Coordinator. One prisoner she assisted recently wrote back:
"I received the Application for Commutation today and read over it. It reads easy, and looks very good. I want to thank u from deep in my heart for the time and patience u put into this with me. So I thank u very much and I am grateful to have become acquainted with this organization and hope I'm able to one day meet u all and do some volunteer work for u. I truly believe that I am a good asset to the community and I truly look forward for the opportunity to explore all of the promises the world has to offer and to give back in q meaningful way. So I thank u for assisting me in preparing this petition.  Thank you, Holly!"
​__________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Terminal illness behind bars

April 14, 2017
Bill is 81 years old and has been struggling with health issues lately. He shares this update with HFP:

"I was taken to Jackson/Ford Hospital for biopsies.  What a trip!  I have 3 holes in my sides:  They tested my liver, kidney and lung right side.  One more hole to my right lung through my rib bone.  One hole through my left side rib cage, to my left lung.  Hurts to breathe and cough, having a hard time trying to sleep on either side, backbone sore.  All I can eat is junk food.  They transferred me from my old unit to the hospital here on the compound, in a 5-man room.  My surgeon prescribed medication.  Still haven’t seen it.  This place is out of space, don’t care how you feel, or how much pain one may be in.  They don’t care.  My test did come back positive.  They say I have lung cancer, Stage #4."
​__________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Prisoner Gratitude

April 13, 2017
"In case you ever wonder whether the small things are worth it, I'm telling you that they do: After 27 years in prison, I appreciate your willingness to help. Even if the actual project doesn't go the way I want, I deeply appreciate your assistance. Seriously, thank you for that."
​__________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

A mom is reunited with her family
April 12, 2017

For several months, HFP has worked with a female inmate to get her updates on her son. Last week, this message came through:
"Have great news. Our Lord Jesus has restored my family to me. He has found my son and I now have full communication with him.  And, upon release, I can go directly to see my son. Thank you, to each of you, for all your prayers for me and my family through all these trying years.  I have made it and I am going to make all the way. I have become a woman of Faith today. Thanks be to GOD and to you and others who have paved my path of encouragement, prayers, gratitude and Love.  Thank You all twice!"
​__________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

The price of music

April 11, 2017
Last week, we shared a message about the new JP5 tablets prisoners are able to purchase. Today, a prisoner notes that even though these items are available, you still need to have money, and prisoners in Michigan haven't seen a wage increase since late 2006:
"Did you see the new promotional here about the JPay 5 tablets for the people to instantly purchase music?  That’s good, but can you get us a prisoner wage increase, since by those standards a person has to work 3 hours to purchase a song."
​__________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

A prisoner likes the new JP5 Pad
April 6, 2017

Last month, prisoners in the MDOC were offered a chance to purchase a tablet to use for music, the prison email system and more. One prisoner writes:
"Okay, these tablets are the equivalent of a double shot of thick Turkish coffee. I am so-o-o happy I purchased this device! If this mini tablet can do all of these amazing things I would lose my mind on the latest smart phones.  It is taking me a bit of time getting used to this tiny touch screen keyboard, but it is a small price to pay for being able to sit in the semi-privacy of my room and "chat" with people. The fact an E-stamp is only 20 versus the 53 for a Forever Stamp is also huge factor with me as I go through the 40 allowed envelopes each month plus several E-mail. However, with the 20 minute time limit and distractions on base, this is just so much more user friendly.  After the board kicked me in the teeth I decided buying one of these was a good way of spending the money I'd been saving. It would have been so .such better to be home, but if God has some plan for my life in here, this makes things easier, especially if we get to buy E-books and more games. Yes, games. This came with a memory game that has already eaten up more time than I want to admit to spending."

__________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Handicapped and hungry

April 5, 2017
From a physically handicapped woman at WHV:
"I did not have any body to take me to lunch yesterday, so I did not eat. We are short on aids right now.  However some of the aids are assigned to people that don’t even go to chow and they don’t have to take me so they don’t. Sometimes I pay someone to take me. Can you please help?"
What happens next? HFP immediately answered the message and continues to work with her and others to make sure she gets her meals.
__________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

A prisoner vents over mail-room tactics

April 4, 2017
A prisoner expresses his frustration to HFP:
"In addition to withholding your recent mailing containing newsletters, another of their latest mail-related ploys is withholding practically every other edition of my newspaper subscription (Detroit Free Press) on the basis of some innocuous little blurb, which truly has absolutely nothing to do with real institutional security. It's become "security-theatre" around this place as some staff try desperately to cling to "do nothing" jobs and an outdated institutional culture that is ever-changing. Funny thing is, they're too stupid to figure out how they aren't stopping anything! For all of the extraordinary efforts to impede us from reading much of this stuff, most content still makes its way in here and we end up reading it anyway. Note that not all of the staff here are necessarily "on board" with the games and other nonsense played by mailroom staff, who really seem to have no other lives beyond that of being "miserable" MDOC employees. They're just frustrated people, that's all. When you stop to think about it, they're the real ones in prison . . . in fact, "prisons" of their own making!"
​__________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Another grateful inmate

March 31, 2017
'I strongly appreciate the work you are doing to help those who are striving to perfect a change and make a difference. Assistance from the outside means a lot. Please, DO NOT underestimate the important role you and HUMANITY FOR PRISONERS play because it is vital."
​__________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

On care of mentally ill women

March 30, 2017
Over the last several years, HFP has worked with a number of inmates at Women's Huron Valley Correctional Facility who are mentally ill and dealing with unfair treatment. An update recently came to HFP:
"Believe it or not, things have not gotten better here (WHV).  You would think that, after some lawsuits were filed, things would begin to change in here.  Not true.  The mentally ill are still treated poorly.  They are still locked in cells without water and toilets, so they are still using the floor for the bathroom because the staff do not take them when they need to go.  They do this to the women on suicide watch, too.  Nothing has changed."
__________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Thanks for being there

March 29, 2017
When sex offenders appear before the Parole Board, they often do not have a family member of friend their side.  In a recent situation like that, HFP’s Matt Tjapkes was there.  Said the inmate, in a thank you note to our office:
"Thank you so much for being there today. You planted yourself into my heart. I'm humbled by your kindness and promise to do all I can to spread my best self. You're an inspiration.
"Sorry for being effusive. I'm actually toning down my thoughts on you. Their intensity will lessen, but the impact is done."
​__________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Man's best friend!

March 28, 2017
A prisoner working with dogs writes to HFP:
"I train and handle retired, rescued greyhounds that are brought to our prison from the racetracks of Alabama and Florida.  My job is to socialize, train and make them adaptable for caring families who support the rescue process.  The greyhound I have now is sponsored by a rescue group in Grandville.  Caring for these abused greyhounds has been a rewarding experience and also has helped in my own recovery.  I’ve been doing this for several years."
​__________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

High paying jobs in prison

March 23, 2017
An inmate trying to develop some work skills writes:
"I have finally gotten a job (part-time) as a porter in the unit (cleaning the showers on the weekend). I am a little disappointed that after taking the job I am not going to be allowed to take the Custodial Maintenance class. Once I completed the class my pay would have been increased (right now I make 72 cents a day) and I would have had another marketable skill to utilize once I got out there."
​__________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Loneliness and desolation

March 22, 2017
Mark is 32.  He writes:
"I have no family support at all.  I’m on indigent status...that allows me to order $11 in hygiene needs every month.  I have brothers, one sister and my mom that I try to reach out to, but no support.  I have no books, no TV, no personal items as a watch, no personal clothing, no personal shoes."
​__________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

A prisoner's observations
March 21, 2017

A prisoner reflects in his surroundings:
"This prison is filled with so much despair and hopelessness that it would pain your heart to witness.  They (prisoners) need positive outlets to express themselves, such as poetry or drama class.  It’s a proven fact that idle minds gravitate toward negativity, which at this place means senseless acts of violence on each other."
​__________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Another grateful inmate

March 17, 2017
A prisoner thanks HFP for assistance:
"I strongly appreciate the work you are doing to help those who are striving to perfect a change and make a difference. Assistance from the outside means a lot. Please, DO NOT underestimate the important role you and HUMANITY FOR PRISONERS play because it is vital."

__________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

A good program gets even bigger and better!

March 16, 2017

HFP was so pleased with reports coming from Earnest C. Brooks CF in Muskegon regarding the new Juvenile Deterrent Program, that we posted a blog about the project on February 27.  Six days later, one of the inmate/mentors wrote:
"YOUR blog already has immense effect.  It has sparked heavy interest. So much so, that we are now inundated with requests for the program. To accommodate the growing volume of demands coming in we are now scheduling two mentoring sessions each month instead of just once a month. In addition, the administrators have decided to recruit 3 more mentors to meet the growing demand. Eventually, we will have 13 mentors instead of the former 10. This program is taking off spectacularly. I see God's hand all throughout the process. He is using all of us in wonderful, meaningful ways. Doug, you have proven to be an instrumental figure in the growth & expansion of this program. Kudos to you dear Brother for doing your humble part in ensuring the success of this fledgling program."
​__________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Can lightning strike twice?
March 15, 2017
Last December, 81 year old Willie wrote this letter to us from his prison cell:
"I had cataract surgery on my right eye on December 20. I was sent back for follow-up on the 21st. Things were looking good, but the transportation officers forgot me...left me in the hospital until 8:15 that night, in the cold bull pen all by myself. I happened to see an officer pass by, and stopped him. I asked him to check the Transportation Department to see why they had left me. I arrived back at my facility at 10 PM."

This week, we heard from Willie again:
"I was due to return to the hospital on February 23 for biopsy tests. Will you believe that the transportation officers left me at the wrong hospital? All day long, from 8:15 to 3:15! I tried to explain to them that I was at the wrong place, but as you know, the police in the system do not listen to prisoners. I asked the police at the hospital to call my facility and find out what hospital I was supposed to visit. The police who left me at the wrong hospital returned, and I asked, 'Why you didn’t check the paper work before you drop me off?' No response. He just looked at me and said, 'Things happen.'"
​__________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Report from a prisoner in Coldwater
March 14, 2017
A prisoner from Lakeland Correctional Facility updates HFP:
"Here is the latest. Since the first of the year we have had 3 overdoses, one died. Now this past weekend we had a rape in one of the units.  The cops are really useless they do nothing to ensure the safety of anybody that is just trying to do their time."

HFP Blog
HFP does its best to stop over-charging prisoners for services.  See the latest entry:  http://humanityforprisoners.blogspot.com/

__________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Life at WHV
March 9, 2017
A female prisoner writes to HFP about life at Women's Huron Valley:
"I am doing work now as a volunteer prison observer...sat today with a lady that tried to hang herself yesterday. Trying to make sure they know God loves them and they have a purpose. Please pray. I also had a rebellious troublemaker at Bible study try to hook me up with a sexual assault lawsuit and she keeps trying to bully and intimidate me like a child. Sad, but the officers know and I believe that God will help this lady as soon as she asks Him to. She was throwing my case in my face like an elementary school child. It is sad really."

__________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Description from a woman at WHV
March 3, 2017
An inmate at Michigan's prison for women reflects on her surroundings:
"Surrounding me is layers of razor wired fences, cement walls and floors, drugs, cursing, cutting, multiple sexual relationships, homemade alcohol, abuse of prescription medication, abuse by authority figures (physical, mental and emotional), rape, disease, rejection, loneliness, isolation, hunger, helplessness, hurt, pain, tears and death, home invaders, murderers, child abusers, prostitutes, shoplifters, drunk drivers, and manipulation.  I could go on and on about the layers in prison.  24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year, for a grant total of 5,480 days of my life so far, with 13,870 more days left in my sentence to do in this environment."

​__________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Thanks to HFP
February 28, 2017
A prisoner who has been working with HFP writes the office:
"I want to say “Thank you” from my heart for all the hard work you are doing to help those in dire need.  I cannot adequately describe how helpless one actually feels after his money and resources are tapped out, and he is stuck in this hell we call prison!  I have never in my life felt more alone, with soul crushed, than I am now.  My spirit wills me to fight.  But my lack of knowledge, resources, and competent legal representation keep knocking me back to the canvas!"

HFP BLOG
True, HFP is sometimes critical of the Department of Corrections.  But today Doug pays tribute to the department, a specific prison, and an exciting new program - http://humanityforprisoners.blogspot.com/

​__________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Facing the Parole Board
February 23, 2017

We thought the Michigan Parole Board might be softening its stance on insisting that inmates show remorse for a crime, even when they didn’t actually commit the offense.  But then we received this message from a distraught prisoner this week:
"HI DOUG!!! JUST A NOTE TO LET YOU KNOW THAT I WENT TO THE PAROLE BOARD TODAY AND I TOLD HIM JUST AS YOU SAID.  I TOLD HIM THAT I FELT SORRY FOR THE VICTIM AND HER FAMILY AND FRIENDS BUT, I COULDN'T HAVE REMORSE FOR SOMETHING I DIDN'T DO. IT WAS ONE OF THE HARDEST THINGS I HAVE EVER DONE, MY FRIEND, FOR HE BASICALLY TOLD ME HE WANTED TO PAROLE ME IF ONLY I WOULD SHOW REMORSE. I COULDN'T DO IT FOR MY GOD DOES NOT LIKE LIARS AND IT WOULD BE A TOTAL LIE IF I SAID THAT I DID THIS CRIME.  I JUST WANTED TO UPDATE YOU ON WHAT I SAID.  YOU TAKE CARE MY FRIEND, AND GOD BLESS YOU AND YOU FAMILY, AND THANK YOU FOR ALL THAT YOU DO FOR THOSE OF US WHO HAVE NO VOICE. TRULY, STEVE."

__________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

More on overcrowding at Huron Valley

February 21, 2017
For over a year, HFP has been receiving complaints about the overcrowding at the women's prison in Michigan. Here's the latest example:
"I was only given 5 minutes to eat dinner again last night and even when you report it, it may go a day or two without conflict, then they are back to pushing us out again. Too many people to feed in an hour. Impossible, yet when we try to fight it we are beat down with tickets."
​__________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Out of mind, but not out of sight

February 16, 2017

Mr. W. is 81 years of age, and HFP is trying to assist him in getting his sentence commuted for medical reasons.  A few days ago this message in the mail:
"I had cataract surgery on my right eye on December 20.  I was sent back for follow-up on the 21st.  Things were looking good, but the transportation officers forgot me...left me in the hospital until 8:15 that night, in the cold bull pen all by myself.  I happened to see an officer pass by, and stopped him.  I asked him to check the Transportation Department to see why they had left me.  I arrived back at my facility at 10 PM."

​__________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

​True Story – Only the names have been changed!
February 15, 2017

Paul Fredricks was waiting for a surgical procedure---a biopsy of the prostate.  Here’s his story:
"The MDOC staff at the hospital prepped me wrong. They had 2 Fredricks who were prisoners scheduled that day and they gave me David Fredrick’s file, med tag and prepped me for HIS procedure. I looked at the transport officer and told him my birthday was NOT 6-11-66 and my first name was NOT David, he ignored me. After 20 minutes the nurse came over and said are we ready David and I told her I'M NOT DAVID, I AM PAUL and that's when all hell broke loose and they found out the officers at the intake desk mixed up my and his file. Glad they didn’t put me under and remove my colon and install a colostomy bag like he was scheduled to have done!"


Is some medical care, or lack of it, in Michigan prisons cruel and unusual punishment?  Doug thinks so.  See the HFP blog:
 http://humanityforprisoners.blogspot.com/

​__________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

The heartbreak of loneliness

February 14, 2017
While many today share stories of love, prisoners like this are often left forgotten:
"I cannot file an application for commutation of sentence because I don’t have what is needed:  no family, no friends or outside support, no children, no religious organizations or individuals who really give a s**t about me.  I have not had a visit from anyone in 20 years.  I have not used a telephone in 20 years.  I was married in 1985, lost wife to cancer.  Married again in 1991, lost wife to kidney failure…both times in prison, so I have no solid family or nothing in my life to even try to build on."

​__________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Chance for Life - Doing Good Things!
February 10, 2017

Message to HFP President Doug Tjapkes:
"I again wanted to thank you for participating in our Month of Peace Celebration. I did have the chance to read your blog that you wrote regarding our event. That was truly a great act of courage. Many people don't make public the positive things that incarcerated people do so to have you shine a light on us is very much appreciated.  I will be looking forward to contacting your organization again and extending a invitation to you to come speak. I did want you to know that the Chance For Life Organization did a month-long drive and raised money for the Gayle M. Jacob Cancer Center here in Jackson. We were able to raise over $1,100.00 to help cancer patients. It was our way to give back to the community. I'm going to close now, just wanted to keep you updated on the good works that the Chance For Life Organization and the men here at Cotton Facility are doing. Thanks for your commitment to our struggle.
"Sincerely, Mr. C.B".

​__________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Thoughts from a battered woman
An inmate from Michigan's prison for women writes to HFP:
"Prison strips you of your dignity, erodes your self-esteem, embitters you, and destroys whatever good qualities you possess.  The first qualities to go are compassion and empathy, because prison rules punish you for sharing, crying, comforting, or hugging another prisoner.  You learn to be emotionally detached.  For a battered woman it is the cruelest of all environments because prison is a hotbed of verbal, physical, emotional and sexual abuse, and you can’t escape it.  There is no healing...only years more of suffering and pain, this time battered by the criminal justice system."

HFP Blog: HFP President Doug Tjapkes shares some personal thoughts about Black History Month -
 http://humanityforprisoners.blogspot.com/

__________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Tests by God?
A prisoner writes HFP about his struggles:
"I personally feel like He is testing me lately. My patience every single day. And not even with important things...only with "prison things" if that makes sense. Things I will never have to deal with ever again in life when I leave here. I KNOW that’s what’s happening.  I’m continuing to stay strong and combat it to the best of my ability given, my standpoint you know?  I trust in Him."

​__________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Funny how the story changes

February 3, 2017
A prisoner struggling with health issues writes to HFP:
"They ran out of 14 gauge catheters and the guards told me they didn’t get a delivery so they were instructed to only give 2 to each person and we were told to make do with them.  Then, when I was on the way out and I saw one of the head nurses next to the doctor who is taking care of me, I asked WTH was going on, why I was only being given 2 caths for an entire week and why I was told just wash them and re-use them when they say right on the package DO NOT RE-USE! The doctor looked puzzled and suddenly the guards and nurses story changed and they mysteriously found a nearby closet full of 16 gauge caths and asked if I would use those instead. Funny little quirks they tend to pull when they think they can get away with something."

​__________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

When it rains, it pours!

January 26, 2017
A prisoner reports to HFP:
"Unit five's roof is leaking RIGHT ONTO a bunk in the 12 man.  Happens to be a little girl from home who I know. It rained and was raining RIGHT ONTO HER...the officers said "we called control center to see what they could do." This was right after it had leaked all over her bed and they hadn't replaced her sheets and blankets the first time.  So everybody in the 12 man gave her their coats to cover up with to try and avoid being leaked on."

​__________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

WHV visitation problems

January 24, 2017
A prisoner's loved one writes HFP about visitation issues at Michigan's prison for women:
"I make the 3 hour drive to WHV Correctional Facility 3 to 4 times a month. There are some wonderful staff there to help you, and there are some horrible staff as well. There is one C.O. that seems to always be rude, aggressive, and takes joy in making you wait.  I have had to wait in the waiting room for as long as 3 and a half hours just to go back and see my loved one. On that day I spent 9 and a half hours between driving and waiting to get in.  That does not leave much time to see a prisoner!"

​__________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

​Humor Behind Bars

January 20, 2017
An inmate writes about his new job:
" I did go to the facility orientation yesterday afternoon, and they are going to waive/allow me to get a job in the unit, one with dignity and top of the ranks!  I will be Colonel, Colonel Urinal, head of the toilet brigade and keeping the toilets cleaned!! Hey it's 84 cents a day and I was told I could get interviewed later for a factory job."

​__________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Another grateful inmate

January 19, 2017
A prisoner who earned parole writes to HFP:
"The journey has begun . I am at the re-entry program and I have already started the class, but my computer skills are not that great .  I am learning though but it is a struggle , but I think I can manage. With the grace of the man upstairs I will succeed in this trial . I would again like to thank all of your staff and especially you Doug.  Thank You, Your Friend Mr. J."

__________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Marquette CF - No place for the handicapped!

January 18, 2017
A handicapped prisoner's plea to HFP:
"Since I have been in Marquette CF, the facility has not been able to appropriately or adequately accommodate my medical needs. I have an L-4,L-5 injury to my spinal cord.  I have an AFO brace on one leg, and a canvass brace on the other ankle/foot, due to balance and strength issues. I also, have no control over my bladder, or bowels due to my injury which demands me to self catheterize and wear incontinence garments...Pull-Ups.  There are no rails in the toilet stalls, or in the shower which makes it very difficult and damn near impossible for me to use these facilities. I have requested a shower chair or something that may assist, but nothing has been done. I have recently fallen in the shower, because of this. I was humiliated and embarrassed. I also, expressed the concern of being in the open-dorm setting. I have no privacy to change my under garments or self cath. This is a serious problem. I was told to us the bathroom stalls. However, there are no rails, so cleaning myself or changing is extremely difficult. I have had bowel accidents a few times. I have brought up several issues to the medical staff, as well as housing unit staff and nothing has been done.  Please, if you can assist me, do so."

​__________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Prison medical care
A prisoner struggles to find a cure:
"I previously filed a grievance for failure to provide proper medical care related to an infection. I just received my second step grievance paperwork and will file it this week. After 6 doses of one medication and one tube of another medication, I still have the infection. I am not sure how to get this place to provide proper care, but am desperate to figure it out! This infection has been present for far too long!!"

​__________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

A prisoner's observations
An inmate reflects on incarceration:
"Being in prison is worse than death.  At least when you’re dead, the pain stops.  Prison, however, is slow, daily torment.  The life you once knew is no more.  You can see it, but you can no longer interact with it.  You’re trapped in a monotonous limbo watching time march on for your loved ones, but for  you it does not.  For me, my life was frozen in time when I came here 12 years ago."

In the latest post on the HFP Blog, Doug looks at President Obama’s Farewell Address, as we relate it to prisoner concerns:
http://humanityforprisoners.blogspot.com

​__________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Promises to help HFP

January 12, 2016
A prisoner writes to thank HFP:
"PLEASE, let me know of any way that I may be able to help you now and in the future. GOD put me in contact with you for a reason and I have to believe that I am meant to continue once released. You have made the last 2 years so much better for me and others in MDOC. The least I can do is help you to continue your work.  Again, please let me know how I can help you and HFP. GOD Bless you all very much. Take care, Mr R"

​__________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Taking positive steps while in prison
January 10, 2017
A prisoner updates HFP:
"THINGS ARE GOING GOOD HERE. I SHOULD BE GETTING A TUTOR JOB REAL SOON.
"I AM ALSO TRYING TO GET INVOLVED WITH SOME OF THE YOUTH MENTOR PROGRAMS THEY HAVE HERE.
"I'M ALSO TRYING TO ENROLL IN  MOTTS COMMUNITY COLLEGE WHICH IS GOING TO BE MADE AVAILABLE TO 155 STUDENTS HERE THROUGH THE PELL GRANT.
"I'M ATTENDING CHURCH TWICE A WEEK AND THINGS ARE LOOKING BETTER THAN EVER.  I'VE EVEN RECENTLY BEEN PUT IN TOUCH WITH 3 OF MY FAMILY MEMBERS."

__________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Cold feet
January 6, 2017
An inmate tells HFP about the effects of the cold:
"Winter, and my state shoes are shot!  Holes and cracks in the soles...feet get wet!  Can’t get to the Quartermaster no matter how many kites I fly.  Grievance system broken...takes forever, and then some.  Am wearing plastic bags inside my shoes.  Uncomfortable!  Messy!  Room is cold.  Heart is warm!"

​__________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Not nice news in any season!
January 5, 2017
A prisoner shares tough news received around the holidays:
"I just received word from the prison staff today that my biological sister called to let them know that my mother passed away. I don’t know how to get in touch with any of them. I haven't talked to my sister since I was locked up in 2001.  I barely know either of them, but I did have plans to get to know my mother when I finally got out. I know she cared about me, but for some reason she was always quite distant. We had talked a bit through letters when I first came to prison, but she was never very consistent. I would hear from her a few months and then not again for a few years.  Well, I don’t really know how to take the news. I'm truly all alone now."

​__________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Making Christmas meaningful
January 3, 2017
Four women at Huron Valley requested permission to sing Christmas carols in the units where the most severe cases of mental and physical illness are treated:
"We wore Santa hats, made a poster and stockings for everyone.  I saw Ms. K.  She looks so good. She sang with us and smiled and laughed. It was great. I saw Ms. D. and Ms. R, whom I haven't seen since they fired me. They both were so happy, so full of life. It was wonderful and honestly the best Christmas in a very long time. To spend that time with such special women was an honor. I wouldn't have wanted to be any place else for the holidays.  Praying that your New Year is wonderful. My New Year started Christmas evening. "

​__________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Making the best of Christmas!
December 30, 2016

A prisoner updates Humanity for Prisoners on his Christmas:
"I DID HAVE A GREAT CHRISTMAS DESPITE NO VISITS, BUT I DID MAKE A LOT OF PHONE CALLS TO FAMILY AND FRIENDS, I DID EAT A LOT OF COOK-UPS WITH MY FRIENDS AND BUNKIE IN HERE, AND I DID RECEIVE A LOT OF CARDS AND E-MAILS.  MY FRIEND AND I EVEN WRAPPED UP HONEY BUNS AND MADE LITTLE "to/from" CARDS AND HANDED THEM OUT TO PEOPLE WHO HAD NOTHING.  LIKE THE GRINCH HAD TO LEARN: CHRISTMAS COMES REGARDLESS OF PRESENTS, MEALS, OR ANY OTHER MATERIAL THING.
"GOD BLESS HFP!"

__________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Enjoying Christmas! 

December 27, 2016
A prisoner writes about his Christmas:
"I have no problems with having happy holidays even in here. Christmas is, and probably will always be my favorite time of the year. Jesus Is the reason for the season. I have true joy in Jesus all year 'round; especially during the time we celebrate His birth.  I have close to 100 Christmas songs on my MP3 player. Some of the classics to the more contemporary. I have Christmas in my head as I listen to Bing, Perry, Johny, Andy and others.  God is making a way out of no way for me. Pray that I will be enjoying Christmas with my loved ones soon. Merry Christmas and a New Year full of blessing for you and yours!  Standing on the promises of God, Mr. S"
__________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Appreciation from an Inmate
December 20, 2016
A prisoner battling health issues writes to HFP:
"First of all, before I get on my rants and raves, I want to thank you from my heart. What you do for guys in my situation is truly a blessing.  I don’t know how me or my family will ever be able to show you enough appreciation to thank you.  You do not know me from Adam as they say in here, you don’t have any obligations to me or my family, yet you have gone above and beyond for them, for me, like you were, like you are family and it truly is appreciated more than you may understand."

​__________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Holiday Greetings to HFP

December 15, 2016

"Dear HFP:
"Just a quick note to wish you a blessed and joyous holiday season and let you know that during this time of Thanksgiving, you have been in my thoughts and gratitude for all that you are doing to help me regain my freedom. You restored hope where there was none and gave me the strength to keep on fighting when I believed all was lost. Bless you for that. I know that God has angels on this earth to do his work for him and all of you are surely among them. It will, of course, take a band of angels to secure my freedom, but by the grace of God it will happen. Thank you for setting this miracle in motion. May this holiday season bring you many blessings! Fondly, Ms. N"

​__________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

A Prisoner's Wife Thanks HFP
December 14, 2016
Optimistically opening envelopes during our Matching Funds Campaign, HFP found this note, tucked in with three $5 bills:
"Please accept my small donation along with my apology for not doing more.  As a single mom and wife of a Michigan prisoner, I do not have much wiggle room in my budget.  However, I will not forget your service to the forgotten in Michigan, and hope to do more as circumstances allow in the future.  Please add my voice to those who fully support and appreciate the work you do to humanize individuals in the system.  This past summer I called your office with a problem, and with your prompt help, it did work out!  I am grateful to have someone in our corner!  We will not forget your work.  Happy Holidays...God bless!"

​__________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Holiday message of thanks!
December 13, 2016
A prisoner reflects during the holiday season:
"last night in group we spoke about what we have learned and what we get from group (12 steps). Personally, I've learned that I would not be the man I am today were I not the man I was at 21. In other words, though I am not at all proud of who I was, I found myself because who I was brought me to prison. I've learned to be honest with myself and admit when I am wrong. I've learned to accept the things I cannot change and face life on life's terms. I've found a sense of serenity and the intrinsic value in being useful to other people instead of using them. I am thankful for the hardships I have endured as they have given me insight into where I need to work. I like who I am today, and I think that were my father still alive, he could be proud of me too, despite where I am. Most importantly, I've learned how I am a part of life in everything I do. What I do or say can ripple across the lives of others, so I need to always think about what I do and what it may lead to before acting. My self-dialogue is central to my feelings, and I can talk myself up just as easy as I have talked myself into anger in the past--I just have to put in the effort to alter my perspectives and see those of others. I am grateful today, and I am hoping for good things for you, your family, your friends, your community, and the world at Thanksgiving time."

​__________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Scrooge

December 9, 2016
An inmate in Michigan's prison for women writes:
"I pray you have a wonderful holiday season. Eat some holiday food for me. Preferably white meat and dessert with ice cream. I'm so bummed they have eliminated ice cream from all of our meals and cannot figure out why no one is comforted.?????????? It's elementary my dear Watson.  Sometimes the answers are so obvious they are right in front of your face and people do not see them. True???????????? God sees!!!!!!!!!Thankful for that.  Happy holidays and holiday hugs."

​__________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

More thoughts from a teacher

December 8, 2016
A teacher shares more thoughts with HFP:
"As an educator, I am appalled at how the educational system in our country has failed individuals behind bars.  The need in here is great.  The prison programming does little to provide these women with any marketable job skills, and so they leave prison and return to what they know best, which is a life of crime."

​__________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

A former teacher speaks up

December 6, 2016
A former teacher recently became aware of the work of HFP. She shared some thoughts on our criminal justice system:
"For years I taught core democratic values to my students, and as a patriot, I truly believed in the constitutional rights that our forefathers fought to secure and died to protect.  But when you are accused of a crime, you quickly discover that those rights are nothing more than empty promises on faded parchment.  Decades of legislative encroachment, presidential “executive decisions,” and liberal judicial interpretations of the Constitution have surreptitiously eroded those precious rights.  I feel as though the judicial system that I believed to be fair and just has betrayed me."

__________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

A Simple Note

December 1, 2016
With all the requests the Humanity for Prisoners receives on a daily basis, the office can also count on simple messages like this arriving each day as well:
"To Doug, Matt, and all at HUMANITY FOR PRISONERS who work on behalf of so many, THANK YOU!!!  You are a blessing!  Signed, Ms. A, and all the ladies at the Women’s Huron Valley Facility."

​__________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Poignant thoughts
A prisoner writes to HFP:
"What do you tell a youngster (17 to 25) who is serving a natural life sentence for a murder that he didn't technically do, but that he was at when a friend or friends pulled the trigger? I am increasingly coming into contact with guys like this.  I don’t know what to tell them to keep them alive...to keep them striving for something...to keep them at least holding on to hope.  Do you have ideas? Religion doesn’t work. Faith in the system doesn’t work.  I have a bit of a reputation for pushing youngsters to improve and better themselves because of my way of relating to them on their level and using my past history and reputation. I try to show them a side of life that most of them never imagined. I try to show them how to love themselves first. 
"So the administration often pairs me up with a youngster for that very reason. But the hardest thing in the world for me to do is not be able to give hope to a youngster in here for life.  Have you ever seen a zombie? I mean how do you motivate a person who has no possibility of getting out?  Currently I've had two situations where they stood there with tears in their eyes, and I don’t know what to say or do to make it better."
Very few Michigan prisoners get a visit.  Could that situation be improved?  Are prison visitors treated well in Michigan?  Some HFP thoughts in today’s blog: http://humanityforprisoners.blogspot.com/

​__________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

​An Inmate Thankful for HFP
November 23, 2016
A soon-to-be-released prisoner writes HFP:
"The journey has begun . I am at the re-entry program and I have already started the class, but my computer skills are not that great .  I am learning though but it is a struggle, but I think I can manage. With the grace of the man upstairs I will succeed in this trial . I would again like to thank all of your staff and especially you Doug.  Thank You, Your Friend Mr. J."

__________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

HFP gets an "attaboy" from WHV
November 22, 2016
An inmate at Michigan's prison for women writes to HFP:
"Thinking about Humanity For Prisoners and everyone involved today. The hard work and compassion you put into helping prisoners is amazing. I as well as many of the women here appreciate EVERYTHING you do to make our stay here humane.  Blessings on this gorgeous day."

​__________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Self-improvement/HFP Blog
November 18, 2016
Many prisoners take advantage of whatever resources are available behind bars for self improvement:
"I'm well, just seeking to always improve myself. And the tools I use are the programs that the prison offer.  I read a lot of non-fictional books, books that will add value to my character, and ultimately strengthen my thinking ability. I thank you all for all the work of love you all do for humanity."
​__________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

​How stormy weather can even affect inmates
November 17, 2016
A prisoner explains his predicament to HFP:
"I am trying to figure out how I can help my woman to get her car fixed. The last storm we had, a tree fell on her car and now she is unable to get around or get back and forth to work.  It has been very hard on her and very stressful on me, because i know what she is going through. I hate to witness her unhappy and unable to do what makes her happy.  Nonetheless, I just continue to pray and let her know that I am doing what I can to help her."

​__________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

​HFP Leaves An Impression
November 15, 2016
HFP Receives thanks from behind bars::
"I thank you for assisting an old guy in our unit, in his plight, as I always feel you are a godsend to many who never know you help them and affect their lives.  Most men just are not that aware of the things that transpire around them and just think they happen automatically... but all in all please do know that I thank you and send many prayers for you."

​__________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Making the best with what you have

November 10, 2016
A prisoner writes to HFP:
"I wanted to bring you up to date with what i'm doing while here in prison. I've recently completed a Relapse Prevention Program that deals with diving into understanding what sets a person on a spiral downward and what a person needs to do to prevent that spiral. Ultimately it helps you to identify your triggers and coping skills to prevent you from spiraling in the first place. When I completed the program, the facilitator gave those of us that completed the program a certificate. Also in our RPP we list our support system.  For my support system, I put you down as one of the ones that have offered me spiritual and emotional support and someone that will have no problem giving me advice and guidance if and when I'm released."

​__________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

When discouragement wins

November 3, 2016
For months HFP has been trying to help a 53-year-old, seriously ailing inmate with little success.  Finally this message crossed our desk:
Good news/bad news. I had a video consult with a PA from infectious disease yesterday. Good news, they offered me treatment. Bad news, I told them NO!!!!!! If they won't properly treat my pain, forget it. In fact, I told them, ALL the medications they are giving me DO NOT work at all. High blood. pressure, still high. Thyroid... no relief whatsoever.  Still have acid reflux. In short, start giving treatments that have an effect. Won't even acknowledge renal disease or tryglicerides. This illusion of appropriate care is going to stop today. I choose to die :-(. Thank you for all your hard work and efforts. I would like it if you could continue helping me get some pain relief, but I understand if you don't. Love and Praise Jesus Christ, I put my life in His hands now. After all Health care staff, 3 months ago, told me it was too late for treatment, so I'm already somewhat prepared to die. God Loves the work you do!"
For the information of our supporters, Mr J may have given up, but we have not!  We are pleased to report that a compassionate physician is currently communicating with him.

​__________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Poor medical care

November 1, 2016
A prisoner reports on his experience trying to get medical attention:
"On 8/7 I was having medical problems, and I told the CO I needed to see a nurse or a doctor.  He told me when he gets time.  For the next 4 1/2 hours I tried to get the CO to get a nurse or doctor, and he kept telling me he is too busy doing hair cuts and cleaning up.  When medical did their night time med round is when I got to see the nurse.  At this time she asked me why I did not get help sooner.  They ended up sending me to the ER.  They told me I could have died."

__________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________