Introducing our New Board Members!
July 11, 2018
Humanity for Prisoners is proud to introduce Dr. Michelle Loyd-Page and Dr. Veena-Kulkarni Rankin as
the two newest members of our Board of Directors.
Dr. Loyd-Page is the Executive Associate to the President for Diversity and Inclusion at Calvin College
in Grand Rapids, and is an associate pastor at Angel Community Church in Muskegon. She resides in
Dr. Kulkarni-Rankin is a concert pianist, and serves as lead instructor at the Faber Piano Institute in
Ann Arbor. She is one of the worship leaders for the Ann Arbor Christian Reformed Church.
Both Dr. Loyd-Page and Dr. Kulkarni-Rankin were elected to 3-year terms at the June quarterly
board meeting for HFP.
July 10, 2018
Trying to make ends meet: More difficult than ever in a Michigan prison! See the latest entry on the HFP blog HERE.
Starting the Week with M.F. Moonzajer
July 9, 2018
“The biggest threat against the survival of humanity is not brutality and unkindness, it is stupidity and selfishness.”
― M.F. Moonzajer
July 8, 2018
"Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience."
Starting the Week with Nelson Mandela
July 2, 2018
"History will judge us by the difference we make in the everyday lives of children."
July 1, 2018
"He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God."
HFP Blog: Stuff in the news getting you down! Doug uses an Old Testament story to give us hope. See today's entry HERE.
MDOC denies HFP request for hospital visitation policy change
June 26, 2018
The Michigan Department of Corrections will not modify its policy for visitation of prisoners in private hospitals. That’s the word from MDOC Director Heidi Washington.
Humanity for Prisoners had sought the change after the parents of a dying inmate were denied additional visits, when a physician determined that the inmate’s condition had slightly improved. The prisoner was in a coma and on a ventilator. He died three days later, with no family members in attendance.
In a letter to Director Washington, HFP President Doug Tjapkes asked the department to consider two modifications: 1, allowing loved ones to visit critically ill patients in the hospital, even when death does not appear to be imminent; and 2, an avenue of appeal if a physician determines that the improvement of an inmate’s condition no longer warrants family visits.
Director Washington also explained that the Marquette Hospital had been very accommodating to the family of the prisoner, allowing longer visits than normal for the family.
“After further review,” she stated, “there will not be modifications to the hospital visitation policy at this time.”
HFP Blog: What do you think, is there still any hope for civility? See our blog entry today HERE.
Starting the Week with Malala Yousafzai
June 25, 2018
"To every child – I dream of a world where you can laugh, dance, sing, learn, live in peace and be happy."
June 24, 2018
"He called a little child to him, and placed the child among them. And he said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever takes the lowly position of this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me."
HFP Blog: Man’s inhumanity to man: It’s time to speak up! Read the latest entry HERE.
Starting Father's Day Week
June 18, 2017
"Anyone can be a father, but it takes a lot to be a daddy."
Father's Day Verse
June 17, 2018
Children are a heritage from the Lord, offspring a reward from him. Like arrows in the hands of a warrior are children born in one’s youth. Blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them.
Starting the week with Angela Davis
June 11, 2018
"Prisons do not disappear social problems, they disappear human beings. Homelessness, unemployment, drug addiction, mental illness, and illiteracy are only a few of the problems that disappear from public view when the human beings contending with them are relegated to cages."
HFP Blog: Here in Michigan 17-year-olds can’t vote, serve in the military, buy cigarettes or beer, but they can be arrested, charged as an adult, and placed in an adult prison! Ours is one of only a few states still doing this, and we think it’s time to make a change. See today's blog entry HERE.
June 10, 2018
"Keep on loving each other as brothers. Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing some people have entertained angels without knowing it. Remember those in prison as if you were their fellow prisoners, and those who are mistreated as if you yourselves were suffering."
HFP Blog: Prisoner medical co-pay
June 6, 2018
The $5 medical co-pay for Michigan prisoners is a bad idea, and its time has run out. Our thoughts on the HFP blog HERE.
Starting the Week with Franklin D. Roosevelt
June 4, 2018
"Human kindness has never weakened the stamina or softened the fiber of a free people. A nation does not have to be cruel to be tough."
-Franklin D. Roosevelt
June 3, 2018
"If you love only those who love you, what reward is there for that? Even corrupt tax collectors do that much. If you are kind only to your friends, how are you different from anyone else? Even pagans do that."
A new look!
June 1, 2018
HFP was in no position to spend money on seriously overdue literature and logo updates. Another of our generous supporters stepped up to the plate. Our thanks to this anonymous donor, and her talented graphic artist Michael Kolk of Holland for the HFP facelift!
Over the next few days, you'll see the updated look appear on all our content, including newsletters, brochures and social media!
June Gifts Doubled!
May 30. 2018
We’re excited to announce that HFP has received a matching grant for the month of June! All June contributions will be matched. Please consider a slightly larger one-time gift. $10 extra from you in the month of June will give HFP $20.00, which covers the cost of 100 email messages to prisoners!
Starting Memorial Day with JFK
May 28, 2018
"As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them."
— John F. Kennedy
HFP Blog: For nearly 2,000 Michigan military veterans, it won’t be a very nice Memorial Day. See our latest entry HERE.
May 27, 2018
"Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends."
HFP Receives Ultimate Vote of Confidence!
May 23, 2018
Once again, Humanity for Prisoners has been the recipient of a Prisoner Benefit Fund (PBF) grant. President Doug Tjapkes reports that a $500 contribution has been received from the Saginaw Correctional Facility PBF. The prison is located in Freeland, Michigan.
Every prison in the state has a PBF, which is mostly used to fund services, equipment and supplies which have a direct benefit to prisoners. The money comes primarily from the prison store, prison vending machines, prison photo ticket sales, and hobby craft sales. It is administered by a committee made up of two inmates who serve on the Warden’s Forum, as well as two staff members designated by the Warden.
Since its inception in 2001, Humanity for Prisoners has been the recipient of numerous PBF gifts from several Michigan prisons. “Our team considers these donations as the highest compliment,” said Tjapkes. “For us, it’s the ultimate expression of praise and support for the work and the services we provide. What an honor!”
HFP Blog: It’s a fact, HFP and Michigan prisoners are definitely family! Read the latest entryHERE.
Starting the Week with Desmond Tutu
May 21, 2018
“God’s dream is that you and I and all of us will realize that we are family, that we are made for togetherness, for goodness, and for compassion.”
~ Desmond Tutu
May 20, 2018
“The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.”
HFP Blog - Kudos to two local TV journalists!
May 18, 2018
HFP pays tribute to two local TV investigative reporters in the latest entry on the HFP Blog. ReadHERE.
Starting the Week with Albert Browning
May 14, 2018
"Motherhood: All love begins and ends there."
- Robert Browning
May 9, 2018
Humanity for Prisoners is looking for a summer intern to work in our office in Grand Haven. We offer a wonderful opportunity for hands-on experience for students looking to work with inmates, possibly Sociology or Criminal Justice majors. We will be happy to work with your educational institution to give you proper credit as well. Contact Matt via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Starting the Week with Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
May 7, 2018
"You can easily judge the character of a man by how he treats those who can do nothing for him."
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
May 6, 2018
"The LORD detests lying lips, but he delights in people who are trustworthy."
HFP Blog: Little things mean a lot. They can also annoy. See today’s entry HERE.
Petition Supporting Good Time in Michigan
May 2, 2018
Recently, a bill was introduced in the Michigan House that would bring back "good time" to Michigan prisoners. Good time would essentially reward inmates for good behavior by reducing their sentence among other things.
This bill was never voted on in the House. Now, supporters of the bill have put together a petition that will bring this to a vote. Please visit http://sawarimi.org/archives/1775 and consider adding your name today!
HFP Blog - Prison volunteers
May 1, 2018
Volunteers make a huge impact in Michigan prisons. HFP attends a volunteer appreciation event, and posts this blog: http://humanityforprisoners.blogspot.com/2018/04/prison-volunteers-lightening-burden.html
Starting the Week with Frederick Douglass
April 30. 2018
“Where justice is denied, where poverty is enforced, where ignorance prevails, and where any one class is made to feel that society is an organized conspiracy to oppress, rob and degrade them, neither persons nor property will be safe.”
April 29, 2018
"Blessed are the Merciful for they shall obtain Mercy."
HFP Blog - A tribute
April 27, 2018
HFP pays tribute to John Carlyle, a pillar of our community who also played a key role in the formation of HFP. See today’s blog HERE.
HFP Introduces Second Video in Series
April 25, 2018
Inmate Roger Church struggled to get treatment for a rare kidney disease until someone steered him to HFP. Upon his recent release, he shares not only how we helped him get appropriate care, but also how we helped his Viet Nam veterans group. This is the second in our series of four-minute videos. Please take a moment to watch: https://youtu.be/ZmeQVUPhGdw
HFP seeks relaxation of MDOC hospital visit policy
April 24, 2018
Humanity for Prisoners has asked the Michigan Department of Corrections to modify its position on visits for prisoners who are in private hospitals for treatment of serious illness or injury. As it stands now, visits---even by immediate family---are not permitted unless death is deemed imminent.
HFP cited a case earlier this month where the parents of a 58 year old inmate were approved for a visit, because their son was in a coma, on a ventilator and unresponsive. However, when some response was detected by the tending physician, the visitation rights were terminated, as it appeared death was no longer imminent. The prisoner died three days later. Alone.
In a personal appeal to MDOC Director Heidi Washington, HFP President Doug Tjapkes asked for a slight modification in policy allowing loved ones to visit the critically ill, even if death does not appear to be imminent. “We think this is a far more humane approach, and we are supported by medical experts who believe that such visits can also be healing for the patient,” said Tjapkes. He said HFP has received complaints from families of dying prisoners regarding this policy for many years.
In addition to the modification of this policy, HFP is also requesting that the Department provide an avenue of appeal if hospital visitation is denied. Under the current plan, loved ones cannot appeal such decisions.
HFP Blog: Does punishment like the death penalty and life without parole really work? Some thoughts in today’s entry HERE.
Starting the Week with Rev. Sharon Dunlop
April 23, 2018
"Let us remember those who have been wrongfully convicted and who sit in the darkened world of prisons as if we were one of them. Then let us help them to maintain their dignity, as they work towards proving their innocence."
Rev. Sharon Dunlop
Last Call for the Unball!
April 19, 2018
A prisoner’s wife makes a non-reservation for the HFP Unball, and sends $60!
"Please count on me not attending the Unball. I definitely will not be there. And, it seems that my husband cannot attend this, as well, which is great news as there's not been any recent events he could actually participate in---so he won't be there either. I've paid a little extra for his costs! :)"
You still have time to make a non-reservation! Use the Donate Now button to send your payment
HFP Blog: HFP to recommend changes to the MDOC, following recent prisoner death experiences. See today’s entry HERE.
Shop for mom, help out HFP!
April 18, 2018
Grace and Heart jewelry sales rep and former HFP board member Sue Hamm offers a Mothers’ Day deal to HFP supporters. 20% of all retail sales supports the work of HUMANITY FOR PRISONERS.
To see this tasteful array of artistic pieces (not costume or trendy) and to place your order, go to https://www.mygraceandheart.com/SUEHAMM/shop/preshop.aspx and click on "Shop Now" next to the HFP fundraising event.
Unball Update: We can't believe the number of you who were unable to make the date of the unball—so it has been rescheduled to NOT occur by April 20, this Friday. Please send your check or pay online and include the number of people NOT attending (plus any additional costs you would have incurred to attend) and send payment to HFP by Friday!
Starting the Week with Jessica Mitford
April 16, 2018
"The prison system, inherently unjust and inhumane, is the ultimate expression of injustice and inhumanity in the society at large."
HFP Blog: Our friend needs prayers, and the prison system needs a heart. See today’s blogHERE.
April 15, 2018
"Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear."
Starting the Week with Martin Luther King, Jr.
April 9, 2018
“If a man is called to be a street sweeper, he should sweep streets even as Michelangelo painted or Beethoven composed music or Shakespeare wrote poetry. He should sweep streets so well that all the hosts of heaven and earth will pause and say, 'here lived a great street sweeper who did his job well.'”
–Martin Luther King, Jr.
April 8, 2018
"Clothe yourselves...with the beauty that comes from within, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit which is so precious to God."
I Peter 3:4
HFP Blog: Is a prisoner worth more than a parrot? Read HERE.
Starting the Week with Pope John Paul II
April 2, 2018
"Do not abandon yourselves to despair. We are the Easter people and hallelujah is our song."
— Pope John Paul II
April 1, 2018
"He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay."
HFP Blog: An Easter Morning gift to you from HFP: Read HERE.
Maurice Carter's Birthday
March 29, 2018
March 29, Maundy Thursday...but also, Maurice Carter’s birthday. Doug reflects on the broken hearts of Mary, the mother of Jesus; and Elizabeth, the mother of Maurice. ReadHERE.
March 27, 2018
Opening the HFP email bag during Holy Week. See the latest entry on the HFP Blog HERE.
Starting the Week with Madeleine L'Engle
March 26, 2018
“Because to take away a man's freedom of choice, even his freedom to make the wrong choice, is to manipulate him as though he were a puppet and not a person.”
― Madeleine L'Engle
Palm Sunday Verse
March 25, 2018
"Rejoice greatly, Daughter Zion! Shout, Daughter Jerusalem! See, your king comes to you, righteous and victorious, lowly and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey"
Starting the Week with Albert Einstein
March 19, 2018
“If I were to remain silent, I'd be guilty of complicity.”
― Albert Einstein
HFP Blog: On medical care for Michigan prisoners: Is it time to rethink Corizon? See today’s entry HERE.
March 18, 2018
"The righteous care about justice for the poor,
but the wicked have no such concern."
Prisoners say “Yes!”
March 13, 2018
Exciting news in the HFP Post Office Box on Monday! Yes, a $2,000 gift had been received from a W MI foundation. Yes, a $250 check had been received from a brand new donor. But the reason for the excitement: 2 donations from prisoners! A $30 check from one; a $20 check from another...checks from guys who don’t earn that much per month in their prison jobs. What an endorsement for the work of the HFP team!
For more about who we serve and why, see today’s HFP blog HERE.
Starting the week with Jimi Hendrix
March 12, 2018
“When the power of love overcomes the love of power, the world will know peace.”
― Jimi Hendrix
“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.”
Benton Harbor Pastor named to HFP Board
March 9, 2018
R. Chester Gulley, Pastor of New Covenant Community Baptist Church of Benton Harbor, has been appointed to serve
a three-term on the Board of Directors of Humanity for Prisoners. The announcement was made today by HFP President
Humanity for Prisoners is a faith-based 501c3 agency based in Grand Haven, founded by Tjapkes in 2001. It is the only
prisoner advocacy agency in the state that focuses solely on one-on-one assistance with state inmates, seeking to
provide practical assistance to meet real needs.
Gulley and Tjapkes have a long history of working together. Both were active members of the Citizens Committee for
the Release of Maurice Carter, organized in Benton Harbor in the year 2000. The committee fought for the release of
Carter, who claimed wrongful conviction in Berrien County, up until the day he was granted a compassionate parole
Pastor Gulley is also active in the Southwestern Michigan Ministerial Alliance, and the General Missionary Baptist State Congress of Michigan.
Starting the Week with Franklin D. Roosevelt
March 5, 2018
"The test of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much; it is whether we provide enough for those who have too little."
— Franklin D. Roosevelt
HFP Blog: Patience may be a virtue, but it’s a necessity behind bars! See the latest entry HERE
March 4, 2018
"Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth."
February 28, 2018
Why a special Humanity for Prisoners gift from your tax returns is more important than ever!
HFP President Doug Tjapkes greets Anthony “Bear” Johnson, released yesterday morning after
serving more than 42 years!
Bear breaks down in tears: This was the first time in 42 years that I rode in a vehicle unshackled!
Bear breaks down in tears, explaining what led to his freedom: My family was unable to attend
my Public Hearing. Matt was there for me!
Read the details in today’s blog HERE
Even more: Local TV station WILX also was there and had a chance to talk with Bear and
Starting the week with Dianna Hardy
February 26, 2018
“...it only takes one voice, at the right pitch, to start an avalanche.”
February 25, 2018
"Open your mouth, judge righteously, defend the rights of the poor and needy."
Starting the week with Barack Obama
February 19, 2018
"The United States is not the only country on earth with violent or dangerous people. We are not inherently more prone to violence. But we are the only advanced country on earth that sees this kind of mass violence erupt with this kind of frequency."
HFP Blog: Whether prison stats, or school shooting stories...behind the numbers are actual names, real people. Read the latest entry HERE.
February 18, 2018
"He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds."
Starting the Week with William Purkey
February 12, 2018
“You've gotta dance like there's nobody watching,
Love like you'll never be hurt,
Sing like there's nobody listening,
And live like it's heaven on earth.”
― William W. Purkey
Starting the 1st full week of Black History Month
February 5, 2018
"Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we've been waiting for. We are the change that we seek." -- Barack Obama
February 4, 2018
"Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves."
Starting the Week with L.R. Knost
January 29, 2018
"Do not be dismayed
by the brokenness
of the world.
All things break.
And all things
can be mended.
Not with time, as they say,
but with intention.
So go. Love intentionally,
The broken world
waits in darkness
for the light that is you."
January 28, 2018
"For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control."
2 Timothy 1:7
Your dinner is a donation!
January 24, 2018
Supporters of Humanity for Prisoners are invited to come to Downtown Grand Haven next Tuesday as Porto Bello Restaurant has designated HFP as the beneficiary of the restaurant's "Charity Night."
Porto Bello will donate 15% of all dinner sales to HFP. The restaurant is located in the historic Story & Clark Piano Factory building at 41 Washington Ave. Porto Bello's menu features a variety of Italian selections including pasta and pizza, as well as a full bar.
HFP would like to thank the owners and staff at Porto Bello for this wonderful opportunity. We look forward to seeing you for dinner next Tuesday!
Starting the Week with Bonnie Myotai Treace
January 22, 2018
“Rage — whether in reaction to social injustice, or to our leaders’ insanity, or to those who threaten or harm us — is a powerful energy that, with diligent practice, can be transformed into fierce compassion.”
― Bonnie Myotai Treace
January 21, 2018
“Look, the tears of the oppressed—with no one to comfort them.”
HPF Blog: Call HFP what you will, we were on the job last week! http://bit.ly/2DVVb4j
HFP's Out of the Office
January 18, 2018
Three members of the HFP team are going to prison today! Executive Director Matt Tjapkes will be in Jackson as the representative for a terminally ill inmate as he meets with the Parole Board. Meanwhile, volunteer Jennifer Juhasz and President Doug Tjapkes will be conducting a workshop in the Muskegon Correctional Facility on how to file a commutation application. Down in the trenches. Right where we belong!
Thanks for your prayers and your support!
HFP Blog: Little stories make big headlines at HFP! See the latest entry http://bit.ly/2DJ9EQY
Starting the Week with MLK
January 15, 2018
"I refuse to accept the view that mankind is so tragically bound to the starless midnight 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.
HFP Blog: Remaining silent about racism is not an option. See today’s entry - http://bit.ly/2rc49Ie
January 14, 2018
"Whoever says he is in the light and hates his brother is still in darkness."
1 John 2:9
Putting our heads together
January 12, 2018
HFP President Doug Tjapkes and Michigan’s Legislative Corrections Ombudsman Keith Barber spent two
hours yesterday delving into the issues of sentencing reform, parole reform, bedside visits for terminally ill
inmates, medical care, mail policy, commutations, and others. It is hoped that increased collaboration
between these two agencies will result in improved services by both.
HFP Blog: HFP received a huge gift this week! $5.00! See today's entry http://bit.ly/2qZ5uld
Starting the Week with The Lorax
January 8, 2018
“Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not."
January 7, 2018
“But they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.”
Happy New Year from HFP!
January 1, 2018
“There are far, far better things ahead than any we leave behind.”
HFP Blog: As we being 2018, we need more than dollars! http://bit.ly/2luVpaL