Sister Helen on HFP
November 21, 2018
After Sister Helen Prejean's visit last month, Doug took some time to review her speech and pull out some key points about the work HFP does. Please click this link and take a few minutes to enjoy this video presented by HFP: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qCJscB4DQho&t=
Starting the Week with Honesty
November 19, 2018
"Honesty is the cornerstone of all success, without which confidence and ability to perform shall cease to exist. Mary Kay Ash
November 18, 2018
"For kingship belongs to the Lord, and he rules over the nations."
Did you miss Sister Helen?
November 14, 2018
Humanity for Prisoners was honored to welcome Sister Helen Prejean to Michigan last month to speak about her work, and bout people everywhere who work with prisoners, including HFP.
If you missed Sister Helen's appearance, or you just want to hear her again, you can watch it any time you want to right HERE.
Our many thanks again to the sponsors who helped us bring Sister Helen to Grand Haven, to all those who attended, and to Sister Helen for sharing her story with us.
HFP Blog - Going for the two-pointer
November 13, 2018
HFP President Doug Tjapkes ties a link between a touching 30-second video and the powerful work of HFP. Read the latest entry HERE.
Honoring Veterans to Start the Week
November 12, 2018
"To us in America, the reflections of Armistice Day will be filled with lots of pride in the heroism of those who died in the country's service and with gratitude for the victory, both because of the thing from which it has freed us and because of the opportunity it has given America to show her sympathy with peace and justice in the councils of the nations."
- Woodrow Wilson
November 11, 2018
"Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends."
HFP Blog: New posting, old message: Too many people in prison for too long! Our thoughts in the latest entry HERE.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO HFP FOUNDER DOUG TJAPKES!
Starting the Week as Leaders
November 5, 2018
"We need leaders not in love with money but in love with justice, not in love with publicity but in love with humanity."
Martin Luther King, Jr.
November 4, 2018
"But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ"
HFP Blog: Forgiveness - Something prisoners find very elusive! True but sad stories in our posting today, read HERE.
Something Missing in Political Ads?
November 2, 2018
Have you noticed that some topics are avoided in the flood of political ads? Doug has! Take a look at his latest entry on the HFP Blog HERE.
HFP Goes to Lansing!
October 31, 2018
The entire Humanity for Prisoners team went to the Michigan Department of Corrections headquarters in
Lansing recently for an informal meeting with Kyle Kaminski, who has a dual role in the department. He serves
as Legislative Liaison, and is also in charge of Reentry Administration. Executive Director Matt Tjapkes said the
meeting was arranged so that Kaminski could meet our team, but also to discuss ways in which we can better
work together as we seek humane treatment of and care for Michigan prisoners.
Pictured left to right are Matt Tjapkes, Russ Bloem (HFP Board member), Kyle Kaminski, Susan Greenbauer
(HFP Client Services Specialist), Holly Honig-Josephson (HFP Vice President) and Doug Tjapkes (HFP President).
Starting Reformation day Week with Martin Luther
October 29, 2018
"Next to the Word of God, the noble art of music is the greatest treasure in the world."
- Martin Luther
October 28, 2018
"For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind."
2 Timothy 1:7
HFP Blog: Some Sunday morning thoughts about punishment of prisoners - read the latest entry HERE.
Another Vote of Confidence from Behind Bars!
October 26, 2018
Prisoners in another Michigan facility have again shown their appreciation for the services provided by Humanity for Prisoners. A donation of $500 has been received from the Prisoners Benefit Fund at the Lakeland Correctional Facility in Coldwater.
Prisoner Benefit Funds are established at each state prison, and a state police directs that this money may be used to fund services, equipment, and supplies which have a direct benefit to prisoners. Primary sources of revenue are the prison vending machines and the prison store. The funds are administered by a select committee made of inmates and staff members, and distribution must be approved by the warden. In special cases, at the recommendation of prisoners, some of the money may be donated to charitable organizations.
HFP has received similar gifts from other PBFs in the past. “We consider it the highest compliment,” said President Doug Tjapkes.
Maurice Carter Day
October 25, 2018
October 25 is observed as Maurice Carter Day here in the HFP Office. And, in the wake of Sister Helen Prejean’s powerful presentation in Grand Haven Tuesday evening, we ask: Did Maurice Carter receive a death sentence? See today’s post on our blog HERE.
Starting the Week by Taking Responsibility
October 15, 2018
"Let us not seek the Republican answer or the Democratic answer, but the right answer. Let us not seek to fix the blame for the past. Let us accept our own responsibility for the future."
John F. Kennedy
HFP Blog: It might seem strange, but we think a lot of guys in the Michigan prison system identify with those women in the #MeToo Movement. See our new post HERE.
October 14, 2018
Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him;
fret not yourself over the one who prospers in his way,
over the man who carries out evil devices!
Starting the Week with Love
October 8, 2018
"To love means loving the unlovable. To forgive means pardoning the unpardonable. Faith means believing the unbelievable. Hope means hoping when everything seems hopeless."
HFP Blog: Maybe it wasn’t all that big of a deal, how we helped Penny…or maybe it was! See our weekend post HERE.
October 7, 2018
"Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen."
Welcome Susie to HFP!
October 3, 2018
Susan Greenbauer of Grand Haven is the newest member of the HFP team.
As our new Client Services Specialist, she’ll be assuming many of the day-to-day duties of President Doug Tjapkes, including
tracking all client contacts, triaging all those contacts and distributing them to the proper HFP employee, creating and
maintaining client records, and working directly with clients to help them resolve issues when they don’t know where to turn.
Susie, who has a BA in Secondary Education and an MA in Industrial Psychology, has chosen not to return to the
corporate world. “I’m going to follow my heart, instead,” she explains. Doug’s role will be expanded to include more public
Starting the Week with John Quincy Adams
October 1, 2018
"Facts are stubborn things; and whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictates of our passions, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence."
John Quincy Adams
September 30, 2018
"Whoever walks in integrity walks securely, but whoever takes crooked paths will be found out."
HFP Blog: It’s time to act like those two women in the elevator! See today’s blog HERE.
Congratulations to Holly!
September 26, 2018
HFP pays tribute to our VP Holly Honig-Josephson, who was recognized this week as a Molly H. Dobson Scholar at the University of Michigan. In 2016 Holly began volunteering her services to HFP as our Commutations Coordinator. She then made the choice to leave the corporate world, join forces with HFP, and at the same time, pursue additional education as a means of following this new and meaningful path. Our new Vice President received this message of notification:
"After earning her associate’s degree from a community college in 2017, Holly is now earning her bachelor’s degree at the University of Michigan College of Literature, Science and the Arts. Upon graduation, Holly intends to impact policy and systems, working on behalf of incarcerated individuals. In the long term, Holly hopes to pursue a graduate degree with the goal of further alleviating suffering for those in and transitioning out of the prison system. Recognizing mass incarceration as a “real and solvable issue,” Holly aims to serve as an advocate for restoration, love, and justice. The Center for the Education of Women is proud of Holly’s commitment for helping individuals as they set out to make better lives for themselves, and names her a Molly H. Dobson Scholar."
Starting the Week with Bryan Stevenson
September 24, 2018
“Sometimes you have to stand up, even when people say, ‘sit down.’ Sometimes you have to speak, even when people say 'be quiet.'"
- Bryan Stevenson
September 23, 2018
"Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer."
September 21, 2018
Many people of faith believe in the mission of HFP. Some aren’t sure. See Doug’s post on the HFP blog HERE.
HFP Blog - Elephant in the room
September 19, 2018
For years many observers have been complaining about the strong role the Assistant Attorney General plays in Michigan Parole Board Public Hearings. A prominent prisoner advocate in Michigan finally states that “enough is enough.” We agree. See today’s post on the HFP blog HERE.
Starting the Week with Alexander MacLaren
September 17, 2018
"Kindness does not require us to be blind to facts or to live in fancies, but it does require us to cherish a habit of goodwill, ready to show pity if sorrow appears, and slow to turn away even if hostility appears."
- Alexander MacLaren
September 16, 2018
“Thus says the Lord of hosts, Render true judgments, show kindness and mercy to one another,"
The word is out: somebody cares!
September 14, 2018
HFP is no longer the best-kept secret. Executive Director Matt Tjapkes reports that all records were broken last month. In August, our team responded to 644 calls, emails and letters from Michigan prisoners or their families and friends! Of that number, 80 were new names, to be added to the list of more than 2,000 being served by HFP!
Starting the Week with Aesop
September 10, 2018
"We hang petty thieves and appoint the great ones to public office."
HFP Blog: Is help for women in Michigan prisons on the way? See today's post HERE.
September 9, 2018
"Don’t be surprised if you see a poor person being oppressed by the powerful and if justice is being miscarried throughout the land. For every official is under orders from higher up, and matters of justice get lost in red tape and bureaucracy."
Starting the week on Labor Day
"A hundred times every day, I remind myself that my inner and outer life depend on the labors of other men, living and dead, and that I must exert myself in order to give in the same measure as I have received and am still receiving.”
– Albert Einstein
"Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters."
HFP Blog - It's time to replace the seats!
August 30, 2018
A candidate for Governor of Michigan wants to fix the d*** roads. Doug wants to fix the seats at the prison health clinic! See today’s post on the HFP blog HERE.
Thank you and good luck!
August 29, 2018
This summer, the Humanity for Prisoners office was blessed to have the full-time services of our Vice President, Holly Honig-Josephson, while she enjoyed her summer break from taking classes at the University of Michigan. The timing could not have been better, as the demand
for HFP's services is at an all-time high. Holly was thrown right into the mix, helping on calls for assistance while continuing to help
with commutations, HFP's informational documents, and helping us plan for the future. She saw firsthand the happiness and
heartache that our work can bring, and it did nothing but increase her passion for our work!
Unfortunately for us, school is about to be back in session at U-M, and Holly will head back to Ann Arbor for a full schedule of
classes starting next week, meaning her hours in the office will be cut back to part-time while she focuses on her degree. Her
daily presence will not only be missed by us at HFP, but by the clients Holly has quickly developed relationships with as well.
Doug, Matt and the entire HFP Board of Directors would like to extend our sincere thank you to Holly for the help she's provided and the vision she's helped us develop, and to wish her all the best in the future school year. She has about a year and a half left of school, then we get her back for good. We can't wait!
Starting the Week honoring John McCain
August 27, 2018
"Respect for the God-given dignity of every human being, no matter their race, ethnicity or other circumstances of their birth, is the essence of American patriotism. To believe otherwise is to oppose the very idea of America."
John McCain (1936-2018)
August 26, 2018
"Those who consider themselves religious and yet do not keep a tight rein on their tongues deceive themselves, and their religion is worthless."
HFP Blog: With all the big stuff being reported in the news each day, we sometimes forget about things that are happening to “the little guy.” That’s something we don’t forget. Or ignore. See today’s post HERE.
HFP honors Ferrysburg Community Church
August 22, 2018
HUMANITY FOR PRISONERS has presented its Matthew 25 Award to the Ferrysburg Community Church, of Ferrysburg,
Michigan. HFP Board Chair Cindy Anderson made the presentation to Pastor Nate Visker during the August 19 worship
John Aslin, a Native-American prisoner in Michigan, had been commissioned by HFP to create the framed leather plaque
that was presented to the church. It thanks the FCC congregation for outstanding prayer and financial support in the year
2017. Said Cindy Anderson: You have been there for our organization when we felt alone—when others turned away from
helping those in prison and forgot that prisoners are, like all of us, children of God. You have stood by us in prayer. You
saved us a few times when we weren’t sure we could go on.
Pastor Visker pointed out that the church has a long history with HFP, in that founder Doug Tjapkes attends FCC.
The wrongly convicted prisoner who inspired the founding of HFP, Maurice Carter, made his only public appearance
in that church upon his release in 2004.
Starting the Week with Integrity
August 20, 2018
“The supreme quality for leadership is unquestionably integrity. Without it, no real success is possible, no matter whether it is on a section gang, a football field, in an army, or in an office.”
- Dwight D. Eisenhower
HFP Blog: Treatment of mentally ill in prison isn’t getting any better, and it’s time to do something about it. Read the latest entry HERE.
August 19, 2018
This Sunday, August 19th, has been designated Annual Day of Justice by the Christian Reformed Church of North America. We offer this verse:
"But let justice roll on like a river, righteousness like a never-failing stream!"
Starting the Week with Richard Hofstadter
August 13, 2018
"One of the primary tests of the mood of a society at any given time is whether its comfortable people tend to identify, psychologically, with the power and achievements of the very successful, or with the needs and sufferings of the underprivileged."
- Richard Hofstadter
HFP Blog: If you like what we say, what are you going to do about it? See today's entry HERE.
August 12, 2018
"Put on then, as God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony."
Interested in writing a prisoner?
August 7, 2018
Our friends at Cards for Prisoners need your help:
The average prisoner stops receiving cards, letters, emails, visitors and phone communication 3 years into their incarceration.
The goal at Cards for Prisoners is to give them hope and encouragement through cards. If you are willing to be a pen pal through Cards For Prisoners, email Tangiblehopeenterprise@gmail.com and they will give you the details. It’s a safe and anonymous way to encourage a prisoner. They currently have close to 100 men waiting to be matched with a pen pal.
Cards for Prisoners hopes to make sure no inmate ever feels forgotten – there are many people on the “outside” that want to be there for the incarcerated but don’t know how. Cards For Prisoners is here to help bridge that gap.
If you have questions you may email or call Paula at 616/466-4391.
Starting the Week with Mahatma Gandhi
August 6, 2018
"Silence becomes cowardice when occasion demands speaking out the whole truth and acting accordingly."
"Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap."
HFP Blog: Unfair and inappropriate treatment of mentally ill inmates is the subject of a short post on our blog, read it HERE.
Join us next week!
August 1, 2018
Humanity for Prisoners and Artworks Cultural Center in Big Rapids invite you to join us next week for the opening of "and I am an artist," a month-long exhibit of artwork all done by clients of Humanity for Prisoners.
The exhibit will be open from August 8 to September 22 (please note the opening date change) at Artworks Cultural Center, 106 N. Michigan Ave in Big Rapids, with a public reception being held August 9 (next week Thursday) from 5:30 to 7 p.m. It will feature 30 pieces from 21 different artists, and will also include a small bit of information on each artist participating. Most items will be for sale (pick-up after the exhibit is done) with the benefits going to the work of HFP.
We look forward to seeing you there!
Starting the Week with Parker Palmer
July 30, 2018
“When we forget that politics is about weaving a fabric of compassion and justice on which everyone can depend, the first to suffer are the most vulnerable among us—our children, our elderly, our mentally ill, our poor, and our homeless. As they suffer, so does the integrity of our democracy.”
July 29, 2018
"Doom to you who legislate evil, who make laws that make victims—laws that make misery for the poor, that rob my destitute people of dignity, exploiting defenseless widows, taking advantage of homeless children."
HFP: Preparing Michigan prisoners for a Parole Board session
July 25, 2018
Just the thought of meeting with the Parole Board creates anxiety for many Michigan prisoners. And for good reason. If they blow it in their two-year or five-year review, they’ll get a “flop,” prisonerese for a continuance. In other words, parole isn’t on the horizon. If the Public Hearing doesn’t go well, the same thing. He or she won’t be getting out for a while.
Several prisoner advocacy agencies and some prisoner groups have assembled documents and even training programs to help inmates in preparing for the Parole Board encounter. HUMANITY FOR PRISONERS has taken it one step further. Using all of these resources, as well as the personal experiences of the HFP team, Vice President Holly Honig-Josephson has created a new 12-page document titled You’re meeting with the Michigan Parole Board. …What next? Tips and Guidance from your friends at Humanity for Prisoners.
“Inmates hoping to meet with the Parole Board are going to find this preparation tool exceptionally helpful,” said HFP President Doug Tjapkes.
Copies are available online HERE, or can be obtained by sending a written request to PO Box 687, Grand Haven, MI 49417. There is no charge.
Starting the Week with James Bryce
July 23, 2018
"Our country is not the only thing to which we owe our allegiance. It is also owed to justice and to humanity. Patriotism consists not in waving the flag, but in striving that our country shall be righteous as well as strong."
July 22, 2018
You, Lord, hear the desire of the afflicted;
you encourage them, and you listen to their cry,
defending the fatherless and the oppressed,
so that mere earthly mortals
will never again strike terror.
Starting the Week with Albert Einstein
July 16, 2018
"The world is a dangerous place, not because of those who do evil, but because of those who look on and do nothing."
July 15, 2018
The LORD detests lying lips, but he delights in people who are trustworthy.
Introducing our New Board Members!
July 11, 2018
Humanity for Prisoners is proud to introduce Dr. Michelle Loyd-Paige and Dr. Veena-Kulkarni Rankin as
the two newest members of our Board of Directors.
Dr. Loyd-Paige 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!