Starting the Week with William Wordsworth
November 20, 2017
"The best portion of a good man's life is his little, nameless, unremembered acts of kindness and of love."
November 19, 2017
"If you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry and satisfy the needs of the oppressed, then your light will rise in the darkness, and your night will become like the noonday."
November 17, 2017
The Public Hearing is a HUGE deal for Michigan prisoners. Still, not many attend. Read the reason why HFP’s Executive Director would abandon our busy office for a day to speak on behalf of two friends: http://bit.ly/2mz62wg
Starting the Week with Nelson Mandela
November 13, 2017
"For to be free is not merely to cast off one's chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others."
November 12, 2017
"Show yourself in all respects to be a model of good works, and in your teaching show integrity, dignity."
Belated: A very Happy Birthday with to our President and Founder, Doug Tjapkes, who celebrated his 81st yesterday!
Starting the Week with Albert Einstein
November 6, 2017
"Whoever is careless with the truth in small matters cannot be trusted with important matters."
November 5, 2017
"A friend is always loyal, and a brother is born to help in time of need."
November 2, 2017
Sounds like HFP’s workshop was a hit yesterday, at least for our team! Doug's thoughts in today's blog: http://bit.ly/2z6rVFv
Starting the Week with Martin Luther
October 30, 2017
"You are not only responsible for what you say, but also for what you do not say."
October 29, 2017
In observance of the Reformation:
“Accept my teachings and learn from me, because I am gentle and humble in spirit, and you will find rest for your lives. The burden that I ask you to accept is easy; the load I give you to carry is light.”
Maurice Carter Day
October 25, 2017
Humanity for Prisoners has designated today, October 25, as MAURICE HENRY CARTER DAY. It was on this date, in 2004, that Maurice died in a Grand Rapids hospital. He was 60. HFP was founded in 2001 by Doug Tjapkes, with the encouragement of Carter. Maurice had lived only 3 months in freedom after serving 29 years for a crime he did not commit.
Why MHC Day?
TO FOCUS ON WRONGFUL CONVICTIONS. This is a serious problem. Last year alone, US courts reversed the convictions of 137 innocent people who were serving time behind bars! 22 of those had been freed due to DNA testing…the remainder due to the hard work of inmates, their families, their attorneys, and various Innocence Projects around the country. To date, there have been 330 exonerations thanks to DNA tests alone.
TO FOCUS ON THE REASONS FOR WRONGFUL CONVICTIONS. In Maurice Carter’s situation, factors included a jail-house snitch, faulty eye-witness testimony, prosecutorial misconduct, tunnel-vision police work, and racism. These are still key problems today.
TO FOCUS ON MISTREATMENT OF PRISONERS. Maurice Carter died of complications due to Hepatitis C, which could have been treated. He was diagnosed by prison doctors in 1994 who didn’t bother to tell him until he collapsed in his cell in 2003. By then it was Hep C/End Stage! He was an eligible lifer, but because key decision makers were from the county in which he was convicted, parole was never considered. He qualified for a compassionate release after the disease was discovered and he might have been able to receive a liver transplant. But the Governor waited a year to make her decision. Then it was too late.
Obviously this is not an official event, but on MAURICE HENRY CARTER DAY we remember our past and recognize the impact he has had. For the first time in our history, HFP yesterday handled it's 4,000th request for help. The impact of the organization continues to grow each year.
To close, Doug pays tribute to Maurice in today’s blog: http://bit.ly/2i2Mo6g
Starting the Week with Charles Spurgeon
October 23, 2017
"A good character is the best tombstone. Those who loved you and were helped by you will remember you when forget-me-nots have withered. Carve your name on hearts, not on marble."
~Charles H. Spurgeon
October 22, 2017
"...whoever refreshes others will be refreshed."
Starting the Week with Fr. Greg Boyle
October `16, 2017
"The wrong idea has taken root in the world. And the idea is this: there just might be lives out there that matter less than other lives."
Fr. Greg Boyle
October 15, 2017
"...encourage the timid, help the weak, be patient with everyone. ...always try to be kind to each other and to everyone else."
I Thessalonians 5:14-15
A crowd of nearly 400 welcomed Fr. Greg Boyle to Grand Haven yesterday for Humanity for
Prisoners's biggest fundraiser of the year. Fr. Boyle, founder of Homeboy Industries and author
of "Tattoos on the Heart: The Power of Boundless Compassion," delivered a powerful message
about the community of kinship, and going out to the margins to stand with those whose burdens
they cannot bear. The audience laughed, cried, and came away moved by this powerful message.
HFP would like to extend our sincere thanks to Fr. Boyle for coming out to Grand Haven, and to
Thomas Boland, Fr. Boyle's assistant at Homeboy Industries. Before Fr. Boyle left to head back to
California, HFP Founder Doug Tjapkes was able to present our gift of thanks - a handmade Prayer
Shawl made by the women at Huron Valley Correctional Facility.
HFP would also like to thank our Board Chair Cindy Anderson, who led the event committee and
went out of her way to make sure the evening was a success. Our sincere thanks also goes out to
event committee members Char Boertman, Lyn Bullington, Sue Hamm, Edward Hartline, Roxanna
Hartline, Kathy Humphrey, Anne McLaughlin, Shannon McMaster, Eddie Sanders, Mike Scripps and
Karen Wolters. An event this scale takes months of planning and several meetings, and this committee
made things happen!
Finally, HFP thanks our supporters, both the event sponsors and those who came out to the event. It
was a landmark evening for our organization, and your support allows us to reach those out on the
margins in Michigan prisons.
Starting the week with John Henry Jowett
October 9, 2017
"God does not comfort us to make us comfortable, but to make us comforters."
John Henry Jowett
HFP Blog: Yep, we have perverts and robbers and murderers in our prisons. We also have thousands of exceptionally gifted individuals whose minds and skills and talents are left behind bars to rot. If we don’t tap those resources, Doug says, we are the criminals! See today’s blog: http://bit.ly/2y7jhGC
October 8, 2017
"Even though I walk through the darkest valley,I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me."
More Yarn for Prisoners
October 4, 2017
HFP volunteers, in late September, spent time picking up and packaging unused spools of yarn from a
Michigan carpet factory to be used in state prison hobby-craft programs. Board members Judy VanderArk
and Karen Wolters have been coordinating this program for years. In this quiet, “below the radar” project,
HFP has delivered thousands of dollars worth of yarn for this prison projects. Inmates use the materials to
create clothing, blankets and throws for numerous charitable agencies and facilities.
Starting the Week on International Wrongful Conviction Day
October 2, 2017
Four years ago, HFP President Doug Tjapkes made this announcement:
"HUMANITY FOR PRISONERS has agreed to partner with Toronto-based ASSOCIATION IN DEFENCE OF THE WRONGLY CONVICTED in establishing WRONGFUL CONVICTION DAY, to be observed annually on October 2. Win Wahrer, friend of HFP and Director of Client services for AIDWYC, said the idea was to help enlighten the public as to the consequences of wrongful convictions. Doug Tjapkes, President of HFP, agreed with the goal of this partnership: to make as much impact as possible in our common cause of preventing and remedying wrongful convictions. HFP joins with other sponsoring agencies in hoping that this annual focus will lead to meaningful discussion and reforms resulting in a reduction of these shameful statistics."
It might shock you to know how many innocent people are sitting in Michigan prisons. See today’s blog: http://bit.ly/2xUOIFR
October 1, 2017
“You must not pass along false rumors. You must not cooperate with evil people by lying on the witness stand."
A Salute to our Founding Couple!
September 28, 2017
Yesterday was a special day for the HFP family, as HFP founder Doug Tjapkes and his wife Marcia
celebrated 60 years of marriage. While Doug has been a tireless advocate for inmates since HFP
was founded in 2002, Marcia has been providing quiet support behind the scenes, lending her
knowledge as a retired nurse. What many people don't know is when Doug struggled with health
issues several years ago, Marcia teamed up with a part-time HFP employee and kept the operation
afloat. Without her efforts, we would not be here today!
So we honor and salute Doug and Marcia for their 60 years of marriage, and wish them nothing but
happiness and health in the years to come!
Humanity for Prisoners presents
Duo 1717: Justice & Love
September 27, 2017
Two wonderful musicians are donating their talents and their time for an HFP benefit concert! Veena
Kulkarni-Rankin and Jean Bernard Cerin, known as DUO 1717, will be presenting an outstanding recital
on Sunday, October 22, in Ann Arbor.
Veena Kulkarni-Rankin is the lead instructor at the Faber Piano Institute in Ann Arbor, and is well-known
as a solo and collaborative performer and arranger. In 2011, she won the Best Liszt Interpretation prize
at the Liszt-Garrison International Piano Competition and gave two East Coast premieres. Veena earned
a doctorate in Piano Performance and Pedagogy at the University of Michigan. Prior to that, she studied
at Indiana University and at the Royal Academy of Music.
Praised for his “burnished tones and focused phrasing,” baritone Jean Bernard Cerin has charmed audiences throughout the United States, France, Austria, and his native Haiti. An avid recitalist, concert artist and opera singer, his engagements have taken him to venues such as the Kimmel Center in Philadelphia, The Kennedy Center and Library of Congress in Washington D.C., Beethovenhaus in Baden bei Wien, Boston’s Jordan Hall and Carnegie Hall in NYC among many others.
This benefit concert will be presented in the sanctuary of the Ann Arbor Christian Reformed Church on Sunday, October 22, at 3:30 PM. The program will showcase repertoire from the Romantics to composers living today. A free will offering will be taken to support the work of HFP. The church is located at 1717 Broadway Street.
Starting the Week with Desmond Tutu
September 25, 2017
“We must be ready to learn from one another, not claiming that we alone possess all truth and that somehow we have a corner on God.”
― Desmond Tutu
September 24, 2017
“These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”
HFP Blog: It’s Sunday. Probably a good day to listen. See today’s entry - http://bit.ly/2xoSZBG
Starting the week with Ernest Hemingway
September 18, 2017
“Before you talk, listen.
Before you react, think.
Before you spend, earn.
Before you criticize, wait.
Before you pray, forgive.
Before you quit, try.”
― Ernest Hemingway
HFP Blog: The FOIA request isn’t used exclusively by journalists. See today’s entry: http://bit.ly/2w2qqGj
September 17, 2017
"Those who consider themselves religious and yet do not keep a tight rein on their tongues deceive themselves, and their religion is worthless."
Now on Netflix
September 15, 2017
A documentary series entitled THE CONFESSION TAPES is now available to watch on Netflix. Among cases discussed in the program will be that of HFP client/friend Karen Boes, who was wrongly convicted of killing her 14-year-old daughter and who is serving a life sentence. To see a trailer for the series, visit https://www.netflix.com/title/80161702.
Starting the Week with Daryn Kagan
September 11, 2017
"Bad things do happen in the world, like war, natural disasters, disease. But out of those situations always arise stories of ordinary people doing extraordinary things."
September 10, 2017
"When I am afraid, I will put my trust in You."
Starting Labor Day with MLK
September 4, 2017
"All labor that uplifts humanity has dignity and importance and should be undertaken with painstaking excellence."
Martin Luther King Jr.
September 3, 2017
"Shout for joy, you heavens; rejoice, you earth; burst into song, you mountains! For the LORD comforts his people and will have compassion on his afflicted ones."
Fr. Boyle Tickets and Sponsorships Available
August 30, 2017
Humanity for Prisoners is thrilled to welcome Father Greg Boyle to Grand Haven on October 12. Father Boyle has worked for over 25 years with gang member in Los Angeles, and his book "Tattoos on the Heart: The Power of Boundless Compassion" highlights his triumphs and struggles. His masterful storytelling will capture your heart and leave you uplifted.
Fr. Boyle will be speaking at Lakeshore Middle School (900 Cutler St.) in Grand Haven at 7 p.m. on October 12th. Tickets are now available to purchase in person at The Bookman in Grand Haven (715 Washington Ave.), or online HERE. If you are interested in being a sponsor and having dinner with Fr. Boyle before the event, you can view sponsorship opportunities HERE.
If you need more information, contact the HFP office at 616.935.0075. Thank you for your support of this exciting project!
Just Another Day at the Office
August 29, 2017
Sad stories are not uncommon in the HFP office. Doug shares another today: http://bit.ly/2xuf6DM
Starting the Week with Erma Bombeck
August 28, 2017
“Volunteers are the only human beings on the face of the earth who reflect this nation’s compassion, unselfish caring, patience, and just plain loving one another.”
– Erma Bombeck
August 27, 2017
"He made the storm be still, and the waves of the sea were hushed."
Doug's Peace Rally Speech
August 25, 2017
Tomorrow, some 1,000 prisoners will gather for a Peace Rally outdoors in the yard at the Cotton Correctional Facility in Jackson, a project of Chance for Life. The keynote speech by Doug Tjapkes was canceled, shortly before the event, by a warden who dislikes HFP. But, his address is still alive. Doug’s updated and revised version of MLK’s famous speech, "I, too, have a dream!" (12 minutes in length) can be read HERE or listened to HERE.
HFP NUMBERS: STAGGERING!
August 23, 2017
Prisoner contacts to our office so far this year: 3,000+ (First time in history)
Annual totals for previous years:
Monthly totals in 2017: 300+ (First time in history)
HFP email messages to prisoners: Up to 500 per month! (20 cents per message)
In addition -
As of this month, HFP volunteers will have assisted 100 Michigan prisoners in preparing commutation applications, at no charge!
These are human lives, not numbers. Hundreds and thousands of reasons why your gifts and prayers are not only welcome, but essential!
Starting the week with Pierre Berton
August 21, 2017
"Racism is a refuge for the ignorant. It seeks to divide and to destroy. It is the enemy of freedom, and deserves to be met head-on and stamped out."
August 20, 2017
"But anyone who hates a brother or sister is in the darkness and walks around in the darkness. They do not know where they are going, because the darkness has blinded them."
1 John 2:11
Criminal Background & Housing Info Session August 29th!
August 18, 2017
From our friends at Michigan Council on Crime and Delinquency:
Join us on August 29th, 2017 from 6:00-8:00 pm in downtown Ypsilanti for a free community presentation by The Fair Housing Center. They will address the new Housing and Urban Development (HUD) rule on criminal background and housing regulations. Please pass this information along to anyone you may know who has been impacted by a felony conviction.
RSVP at www.fhcmichigan.org or by calling Fair Housing at (877) 979-FAIR.
An inmate gives back to HFP
August 16, 2017
If Michigan prisoners get a job, their pay may range from 75 cents to $3 a day. So, when we receive a contribution from an inmate, we recognize this as a major gift! Recently a check for $8 came from a man behind bars, who said this: The Spirit has led me to help HFP after reading your newsletter and learning all the great and selfless things you are doing on behalf of those who need some assistance. Good job, guys!
HFP Blog: Radical proposal
August 15, 2017
HFP President Doug Tjapkes takes a look at the new MDOC mail policy and offers some suggestions on improving it: http://bit.ly/2fI489C
Starting the week with MLK
August 14, 2017
“Peace cannot be kept by force; it can only be achieved by understanding ... Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”
~ Martin Luther King, Jr.
August 13, 2017
“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God."
New Mail Policy: WZZM 13 interviews HFP President Doug Tjapkes about the changes in the MDOC Mail Policy. Watch it here: http://www.wzzm13.com/news/local/mail-policy-changes-at-michigan-prisons/464021229
Tjapkes speech canceled!
August 11, 2017
Two weeks before he was scheduled to address nearly 1,000 inmates at a major peace conference behind bars, HFP President Doug Tjapkes was disinvited. The Peace Initiative was started in 2014 by inmates in the Chance for Life program at the G. Robert Cotton Correctional Facility, and has enjoyed amazing success. Last year, Doug was the keynote speaker for the annual peace conference in Jackson. And, he was among guest speakers invited to return this year. Because so many prisoners are now involved, the event was planned to be held outdoors on August 26.
Yesterday came the abrupt cancelation. Assistant Resident Unit Supervisor Teresa Barnes, who is coordinating the Peace Initiative on behalf of CFL, cited “numerous responses and schedule changes that have caused some cuts to be made to the program.”
Tjapkes and former HFP Board Chair Dan Rooks were part of a Chance for Life event at the same facility last March attended by some 200 inmates, an all-time record for an HFP program.
“I’m disappointed,” said Doug. “A lot of the guys and I were looking forward to it.”
Informational Session for Family/Friends of the Incarcerated
August 4, 2017
SADO is hosting an Informational Session for Family and Friends of the Incarcerated on Tuesday, August 15, 2017 in Lansing at 5:30 pm.
SADO attorneys will be on hand to discuss the process of an appeal, how to navigate the Michigan Department of Corrections, and how to stay in contact with loved ones while incarcerated.
This event is geared toward family and friends, but it is also great for attorneys or other professionals who are involved in the appellate system or who want to learn more about the MDOC.
All are welcome. We have Sesame Street Toolkits on hand for children who are affected by incarceration.
Please spread the word about this event. RSVP at least two days in advance via email or phone (contact info on the flyer).
More Information: http://www.sado.org/Articles/Article/119
Tjapkes to Address 1,000 at Prisoner Peace Conference
August 2, 2017
For the second year in a row, HFP President Doug Tjapkes will be guest speaker at a prison peace conference in Jackson.
The Peace Initiative was started in 2014 by a group of prisoners at the G. Robert Cotton Correctional Facility in the Chance for Life Organization. It has now spread to several other facilities. As a part of this program, inmates pledge to seek peace in their own lives, to resolve conflicts in a peaceful manner, to respect the opinions of others, and to actively work toward ending violence.
Doug will be speaking to hundreds of prisoners at Cotton on Saturday, August 26. Activities Director Teresa Barnes reports that CFL has more than doubled the number of participants in the program since last year. If weather permits, the event will be held outdoors in the yard, and as many as 1,000 inmates could be in attendance! A series of guest speakers will touch on such topics as Ending Violence, Respecting Diversity, Celebrating Human Greatness, and Promoting Peaceful Alternatives in Resolving Conflicts.
Chance for Life began in 1992, and is now in several Michigan prisons. It was designed to transform inmates into responsible and productive citizens. The program’s core curriculum focuses on attitude/cognitive behavioral modification, conflict resolution and anger management.
The title of Doug’s presentation: I, too, have a dream!
Starting the week with Frederick Buechner
July 31, 2017
"The place God calls you to is the place where your deep gladness and the world's deep hunger meet."
July 30,. 2017
"God sets the lonely in families, he leads forth the prisoners with singing..."
Starting the week with Andy Crouch
July 24, 2017
"Leadership does not begin with title or position, it begins the moment you are more concerned about others’ flourishing than your own."
July 23, 2017
"Do not exploit the poor because they are poor and do not crush the needy in court..."
What a week!
July 21, 2017
A message from the Prez:
It’s been a difficult week.
Gifts and contributions, our lifeline, seemed to dry up. Not uncommon in the summer months.
The Michigan Attorney General’s office chose to humiliate me in a prisoner’s Public Hearing.
Then, at the end of the week, came a short, simple message from an aging black man, a follower of Buddha. I had been at his side for his Parole Board review last year. He’s now a free man.
“You were a God send. You stopped my heart from hating!”
It’s been a good week!
HFP Blog - Willie Lyles-Bey deserves better!
July 20, 2017
An Assistant Attorney General disrupted a Public Hearing to discuss an HFP blog. See today’s follow-up: www.humanityforprisoners.blogspot.com
WOOD TV Features HFP Client
July 19, 2017
Michigan inmate James Hicks, a long-time friend and client of HFP, finally gets the exposure he deserves in his courageous battle. WOOD TV Reporter Henry Erb investigates the state's treatment of Hicks after years of Hicks assisting state investigations while in prison. Part 2 of the feature will be tonight on WOOD TV's evening news. To see Part 1, visit http://woodtv.com/investigative-story/target-8-hard-time/.
Starting the week with Elisabeth Kübler-Ross
July 17, 2017
"The most beautiful people we have known are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss, and have found their way out of the depths. These persons have an appreciation, a sensitivity, and an understanding of life that fills them with compassion, gentleness, and a deep loving concern. Beautiful people do not just happen."
HFP Blog: Victim vs prisoner/good vs. evil? See today’s blog: http://humanityforprisoners.blogspot.com/
July 16, 2017
“Thus says the Lord of hosts, Render true judgments, show kindness and mercy to one another..."
Reentry Plan Workshop
July 12, 2017
Our friends over at NorthRidge Church in Plymouth and the State Appellate Defender Office will be holding a Reentry Plan Workshop July 27th at 7 pm. The meeting is the regular gathering for NorthRidge's Prison Ministry, and will take place in room 2213 at their campus at 49555 N Territorial Rd in Plymouth.
This project puts together available resources within the community that our friends can review prior to their release. This will be helpful when it is their time to see the Parole Board and will ensure that they are aware of all the resources available to them when they return to the community. The creation of this plan, while it is beneficial, is not a promise of release or services, but is more of a tool that our friends can use to help themselves plan for re-entry.
At the meeting, attendees will also go over commutations and writing support letters for our friends inside. This meeting is available for anyone who is interested, so please feel free to invite others!
If you have any questions about the information that will be presented at the meeting, please call Ken Smith at 734-730-1135.
July 11, 2017
Is it your position that the bad folks are behind bars, and the good folks are not? Some thoughts from Doug this morning: http://humanityforprisoners.blogspot.com/
Starting the week with James Baldwin
July 10, 2017
"It is certain, in any case, that ignorance allied with power is the most ferocious enemy justice can have."
– James Baldwin
July 9, 2017
"I know that the Lord secures justice for the poor, and upholds the cause of the needy."
Starting Independence Day Week
July 3, 2017
"Truth is generally the best vindication against slander"
Doug finds kindness and civility behind bars: http://humanityforprisoners.blogspot.com/
July 2, 2017
"For you have been called to live in freedom, my brothers and sisters. But don’t use your freedom to satisfy your sinful nature. Instead, use your freedom to serve one another in love. For the whole law can be summed up in this one command: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.'"
It's a Match!
June 30, 2017
Doug, Matt and the HFP Board of Directors would like to take a moment before this holiday weekend to thank everyone who gave to our matching funds campaign. HFP is happy to report that the $15,000 goal has been reached!
With requests coming in at a record pace, your generosity lets HFP focus on what it does best - helping those in prison who don't know where else to turn. Thank you all for your tremendous support. We wish you a happy and safe holiday weekend!
Starting the week with RFK
June 26, 2017
"Each time a man stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope."
Robert Francis Kennedy
June 25, 2017
“Let not the wise boast of their wisdom
or the strong boast of their strength
or the rich boast of their riches,
but let the one who boasts boast about this:
that they have the understanding to know me,
that I am the Lord, who exercises kindness,
justice and righteousness on earth,
for in these I delight,”
declares the Lord.
We don’t do any vetting. If someone is in a Michigan prison and needs help, we’re here! See today’s blog: http://humanityforprisoners.blogspot.com/
New Items at Just Goods
June 21, 2017
Humanity for Prisoners has been partnering with another local non-profit, Extended Grace, to provide
prisoner-made arts and crafts items to sell at their fair trade/social cause store, Just Goods. This
week, we were able to add some new items to the inventory!
A group women at Huron Valley Correctional Facility provided HFP with 20 hand-made stuffed
animals. All were made using yarn that the ladies had to purchase on their own. The staff and board
at HFP is humbled by the work these women have done to give back as a thanks for the help HFP
has provided to them.
And now, you can have one of your own! These stuffed animals, along with prisoner paintings,
leatherwork, and more, are available to purchase at Just Goods, 714 Columbus in Grand Haven. The store also features other unique items, as well as coffee, tea, soda, cookies and doughnuts. Please stop by and support this great local effort!
Starting the week with Dante Alighieri
June 12, 2017
"He who sees a need and waits to be asked for help is as unkind as if he had refused it."
A prisoner sent us an 8,400 word email! We could have handled it better. http://humanityforprisoners.blogspot.com/
June 11, 2017
"He has shown all you people what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God."
June 8, 2017
Another wrongly convicted inmate died behind bars. Our thoughts and comments in the HfP blog: www.humanityforprisoners.blogspot.com
Starting the Week with Sir James Mathew
June 5, 2017
"Justice is open to all - like the Ritz Hotel."
Sir James Mathew
June 4, 2017
"Do not let kindness and truth leave you; Bind them around your neck, Write them on the tablet of your heart."
How your dollars touch lives! www.humanityforprisoners.blogspot.com
A message from the Prez
May 31, 2017
Something very significant happened here in the HFP office yesterday. For the first time in our 16-year history, the monthly total of prisoner contacts surpassed 400! That means that for the month of May, we received an average of at least 14 messages a day, 7 days a week! No wonder it seemed so busy.
I did some more checking. In May, our office relayed slightly over 400 messages to prisoners by email alone. And so far this year, thanks to your dollars and your prayers, we have touched the lives of 496 Michigan inmates.
We use these statistics to launch a mid-year campaign to help us meet budget. For the month of June, all contributions will be matched until we reach $15,000, thanks to some generous supporters. Our email messages to prisoners cost 20 cents each…we buy “email stamps” in quantities of 100 for $20.00. What a help it would be if you would include an extra $20 just this month!
We are so grateful for your participation, and so are prisoners. Just yesterday we received a $14 check from a prisoner we had helped. This could be equal to his month’s pay check! His note: May this tithe seed be fruitful and spread the grace of God. Amen.
Juvenile Lifer Rally for Justice
May 30, 2017
Advocates working to abolish life without parole (LWOP) sentences for juvenile offenders ("juvenile lifers") are hosting the "Juvenile Lifer Rally for Justice." The event will take place Sunday, June 18, 2017 from 2:00 pm to 5:00 pm at Erma Henderson Memorial Park, located at 8810 E. Jefferson Ave., Detroit, MI 48214. For more information, visit the event Facebook page here: http://bit.ly/2riSsOa.
Starting the week with John A Logan
May 29 , 2017
"Let no vandalism of avarice or neglect, no ravages of time, testify to the present or to the coming generations, that we have forgotten, as a people, the cost of a free and undivided Republic."
~John A. Logan
May 28, 2017
"Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends."
HFP Blog: We grieve when prisoners die alone...especially when it really wasn’t necessary.
MDOC responds to HFP Blog
May 26, 2017
Yesterday we asked supporters to take a moment to read the HFP blog dealing with Public Hearings, which are conducted by the Michigan Parole Board on behalf of inmates serving life sentences who are eligible for parole. We have long contended that the hearings need serious improvement. The blog brought immediate response from the top office of the Michigan Department of Corrections. In a spirit of fairness, we feel that Michigan tax payers deserve to hear the position of the state on this matter, without further comment or response by HFP. If you haven’t read the blog yet, you may wish to go to www.humanityforprisoners.blogspot.com before reading this response:
I saw your article related to public parole hearings and must say I was disappointed by the rather personal attacks against board members. The members of the board are entrusted with a significant responsibility, which few members of the public truly understand. The work that goes into hearing and deciding thousands of cases a year in which they are asked to determine the delicate balance between liberty and public safety is significant. In light of that, attacking them because of their dress or vehicle choice and claiming that they are “feeding from the trough of the State of Michigan” is unfair, unnecessary and I think below an organization like HFP. I have had the opportunity to work with the members of the board in various capacities and I would tell you that they are all extremely professional and amongst the hardest working public servants in the State. They have a difficult job and I believe they do it well. I understand that public hearings can be challenging, frustrating, and at times emotional, but I would sincerely ask that you refrain from making personal attacks against the board members involved in that process, because ultimately they simply aren’t necessary.
Thoughts on Michigan Public Hearings
May 25, 2017
Ever since its inception, HFP has taken a position that the Michigan Parole Board’s Public Hearing procedure is a farce, and it’s wrong. In support of that position, we ask two things this morning. First, that you read our latest blog - www.humanityforprisoners.blogspot.com. And, then we’d like you to view a one-minute video as a sentencing judge discusses his experience in the Public Hearing: http://bit.ly/2rCO9xI
Local Doctor Receives HFP Award
May 24, 2017
Dr. Robert Bulten of West Olive has received the inaugural Maurice H. Carter Humanitarian Award, presented by
Humanity for Prisoners. The award was presented by HFP President Doug Tjapkes in a public ceremony this week.
Humanity for Prisoners is a faith-based 501c3 organization with offices in Grand Haven serving Michigan
prisoners dealing with in-house issues when they have nowhere else to turn. Founded in 2001, this team
of local prisoner advocates has already touched the lives of more than 450 Michigan prisoners this year!
Dr. Bulten, whose Behavioral Medicine office is located in Grand Rapids, serves as Medical Consultant for
HFP. “As one of more than 50 professional volunteers who assist us on a daily basis in showing compassion
to needy prisoners,” Tjapkes said, “Dr. Bulten’s contributions to our agency are invaluable!”
The hand-crafted leather plaque was created by Native American John Aslin, a Michigan prison inmate.
The award will be presented each year to a volunteer providing stellar service to HFP. It is named in honor
of Maurice Carter, who served 29 years for a crime he did not commit, and whose story is the subject of
Doug’s book SWEET FREEDOM.
Starting the week with Leo Buscaglia
May 22, 2017
“Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.”
― Leo Buscaglia
May 21, 2017
"Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love."
HFP, dealing with even the most tender of personal issues. www.humanityforprisoners.blogspot.com
We'd like to thank YOU!
May 17,, 2017
If you're reading this message, then somehow, some way you've supported the work of Humanity for Prisoners. And this Monday, we'd like to thank you for that!
HFP cordially invites everyone to come to our Celebration of Gratitude Open House from 5:30 to 7:30 pm this Monday at Desserts by Design, 320 Columbus Ave, Grand Haven. We'll have snacks, refreshments and music, all we need is YOU! RSVP is not necessary, we just hope to see you there. Please consider stopping by, even if only for a minute.
May 16, 2017
Sometimes well-meaning support for a prisoner backfires. The damaging results not only hurt the advocate, they hurt our cause: http://humanityforprisoners.blogspot.com/
Starting the week with St. Therese of Lisieux
May 15, 2017
"The loveliest masterpiece of the heart of God is the the heart of a mother."
-St. Therese of Lisieux
May 14, 2017
"Listen, my son, to your father’s instruction and do not forsake your mother’s teaching.
They are a garland to grace your head and a chain to adorn your neck."
HFP Mother’s Day Observations: www.humanityforprisoners.blogspot.com
Starting the week with Charles de Lint
May 8, 2017
“I don't want to live in the kind of world where we don't look out for each other. Not just the people that are close to us, but anybody who needs a helping hand. I can’t change the way anybody else thinks, or what they choose to do, but I can do my bit.”
― Charles de Lint
May 7, 2017
"Whoever oppresses a poor man insults his Maker, but he who is generous to the needy honors him."
HFP Board Chair Honored
May 5, 2017
Congratulations to HFP’s board chairperson Cindy Anderson and husband Don, for being honored with the Grand Haven Chamber of Commerce’s Lifetime Achievement Award:
Shakespeare Behind Bars is Back!
May 5, 2017
Thanks to the efforts of friends and supporters, the Michigan Department of Corrections has reversed its decision removing SBB from programs at two state prisons in Muskegon. Said Founder-Director Curt Tofteland:
"Shakespeare Behind Bars welcomes the expansion of its programs to include more prisoners at the E. C. Brooks and West Shoreline Correctional Facilities in Muskegon Heights. Additionally, we are thankful to be allowed to share our work through performance."
May 3, 2017
Humanity for Prisoners wants to thank you! HFP staff, volunteers, directors and Development Committee members simply want to show our appreciation for your interest, support, prayers and involvement in our mission. Everyone is invited to an HFP “Celebration of Gratitude Open House” on Monday, May 22, from 5:30 to 7:30 at Desserts by Design, 320 Columbus Ave. in Grand Haven.
Refreshments and light snacks will be served, and there will be music as well. There's no charge to attend, and we won't be making a pitch for your money. We just want to say thanks.
We will need to know if you're coming. Please contact Cindy Anderson at 616-846-7981 or email@example.com to reserve your spot!
We look forward to seeing you there!
HFP Blog: Shakespeare Behind Bars terminated? See our latest blog entry: http://humanityforprisoners.blogspot.com/
April 26, 2017
As Mother’s Day approaches, stop to think how you might react if someone made a derogatory remark about YOUR mother. Here’s how inmate Connor reacted: http://humanityforprisoners.blogspot.com/
Starting the Week with Harry Truman
April 24, 2017
“Men make history and not the other way around. In periods where there is no leadership, society stands still. Progress occurs when courageous, skillful leaders seize the opportunity to change things for the better.”
– Harry S. Truman
April 23, 2017
"Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves"
Sometimes it seems like we can’t help, and that hurts! http://humanityforprisoners.blogspot.com/
Medically Frail Prisoners
April 21, 2017
A group of women at Huron Valley Correctional Facility has asked HFP to share their ideas on amending a pair of the bills going through the house. Here is the information they’ve asked us to share:
HB 4101 & 4102 "Medically Frail"
If the bill passes as is, it will release medically frail prisoners to MDOC-approved Nursing Facilities. However, several prisoners have families/friends and many die waiting approval for medical releases.
- Alternate release to family/friends
- Expedite the hearing and parole process
Please take action to contact local representatives in your area and share on social media. These types of prisoners are not a threat to society in their infirmed state. The money saved releasing them can be used on EDUCATION, STATE & LOCAL POLICE FUNDING, INFRASTRUCTURE, etc. Thank you for your support in our cause to AMEND these house bills. Our deadline for letters is June 30.
To find your local representatives in Michigan, you can visit http://www.house.mi.gov/mhrpublic/
Starting the Week with Pope John Paul II
April 17, 2017
“Do not abandon yourselves to despair. We are the Easter people and hallelujah is our song.”
― Pope John Paul II
With the title “Easter People” come responsibilities! -http://www.humanityforprisoners.blogspot.com
Easter Sunday Verse
April 16, 2017
As they entered the tomb, they saw a young man dressed in a white robe sitting on the right side, and they were alarmed.
“Don’t be alarmed,” he said. “You are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who was crucified. He has risen! He is not here. See the place where they laid him.
But go, tell his disciples and Peter, ‘He is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him, just as he told you.’ ”
Some thoughts about Easter and prisoners: http://www.humanityforprisoners.blogspot.com
Starting the Week with George Washington
April 10,. 2017
"My first wish is to see this plague of mankind, war, banished from the earth."
April 9, 2017
"Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things."
April 7, 2017
Wrongful convictions? That’s how we got started! See today’s blog http://humanityforprisoners.blogspot.com/
Starting the Week with Sir Walter Scott
April 3, 2017
“Oh, what a tangled web we weave...when first we practice to deceive.”
― Walter Scott
April 2, 2017
"See! The winter is past;
the rains are over and gone.
Flowers appear on the earth;
the season of singing has come,
the cooing of doves
is heard in our land."
Song of Solomon 2:11-12
Starting the Week with Gandhi
March 27, 2017
“When I despair, I remember that all through history the way of truth and love have always won. There have been tyrants and murderers, and for a time, they can seem invincible, but in the end, they always fall. Think of it--always.”
― Mahatma Gandhi
March 26, 2017
"As for you, brothers, do not grow weary in doing good."
2 Thessalonians 3:13
Peace on earth? Not much, but HFP found amazing efforts behind bars! See today’s blog - http://humanityforprisoners.blogspot.com/
March 24, 2017
True, lotsa problems on the national level...but things behind bars aren’t all that great, either. See today’s blog - http://humanityforprisoners.blogspot.com/
Starting the Week with Albert Einstein
March 20, 2017
"The world is a dangerous place, not because of those who do evil, but because of those who look on and do nothing."
— Albert Einstein
March 19, 2017
"Give justice to the weak and the fatherless; maintain the right of the afflicted and the destitute."
Starting the Week with Jürgen Moltmann
March 13, 2017
"Hope is lived when it comes alive, when we go outside of ourselves and, in joy and pain take part in the lives of others."
March 12, 2017
"Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, 4 who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God."
II Corinthians 1:3-4
HFP Yarn Program Keeps On Giving!
March 10, 2017
Supporters of HFP are well aware of our yarn program. Every year our volunteers collect hundreds of pounds of unused
spools of yarn from a carpet factory, which we then donate to various hobby-craft programs in Michigan prisons. At
Parnall Correctional Facility in Jackson, a group of veterans knit and crochet for charity. Here’s a message we just
"I want to thank you for the donations for our programs here at Parnall. We have made and delivered well over 250 lap
blankets and afghans to the Veteran Center and homeless shelters. We really appreciate all you have done. Our
members want to pass along their thanks as well."
Starting the Week with St. Francis of Assisi
March 6, 2017
"Start by doing what's necessary; then do what's possible; and suddenly you are doing the impossible."
St. Francis of Assisi
March 5, 2017
"When justice is done, it is a joy to the righteous but terror to evildoers."
HFP on WYCE
March 2, 2017
Tune to WYCE Radio - 88.1 FM, Wyoming, Grand Rapids, this coming Friday, March 3 at 12:30pm to hear a one on one interview with Doug Tjapkes, founder of Humanity for Prisoners. Tjapkes will be sharing what it means to provide one on one advocacy for people serving time in Michigan's prisons. The episode will also be available online on Friday!
Starting the Week with Albert Schweitzer
February 27, 2017
"I don't know what your destiny will be, but one thing I know: the only ones among you who will be really happy are those who will have sought and found how to serve."
February 26, 2017
“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud."
1 Corinthians 13:4
The Gift That Keeps On Giving
February 22, 2017
Supporters of HFP are well aware of our yarn program. Every year our volunteers collect hundreds of pounds of unused spools of yarn from a carpet factory, which we then donate to various hobby-craft programs in Michigan prisons. At Parnall Correctional Facility in Jackson, a group of veterans knit and crochet for charity. Here’s a message we just received:
"I want to thank you for the donations for our programs here at Parnall. We have made and delivered well over 250 lap blankets and afghans to the Veteran Center and homeless shelters. We really appreciate all you have done. Our members want to pass along their thanks as well."
Starting the Week with Benjamin Franklin
February 20, 2017
"A man wrapped up in himself makes a very small bundle."
HFP cares: See our latest entry on the HFP Blog - http://humanityforprisoners.blogspot.com/
February 19, 2017
“These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”
Starting the Week with Frederick Buechner
February 13, 2017
"Compassion is sometimes the fatal capacity for feeling what it is like to live inside somebody else's skin. It is the knowledge that there can never really be any peace and joy for me until there is peace and joy finally for you too."
February 12, 2017
"God reigns over the nations; God is seated on his holy throne."
It’s a two-way street!
The HFP staff and volunteers felt exhausted at the end of January, after appeals to our office from prisoners or their loved ones topped all records. We were contacted more than 360 times last month, topping the previous monthly high by about 100! We take pride in our prompt responses, so this week checked our JPay records to see just how many messages we sent to prisoners in January, 2017. Nearly 350! Action with compassion!
Locked in Solidarity
Tomorrow, HFP joins our friends from Community enCompass and 70x7 Life Recovery Muskegon for the Locked in Solidarity Event at Bethany Church in Muskegon from 11-1. The event is a national prayer and advocacy day highlighting the injustice of mass incarceration. For more information, visit https://www.facebook.com/events/105705026604541/
Starting the Week with Hosea Ballou
February 6, 2017
"Honest and courageous people have very little to say about either their courage or their honesty."
- Hosea Ballou
February 5, 2017
"Pride leads to disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom. Honesty guides good people; dishonesty destroys treacherous people."
February 2, 2017
10 years ago Doug undertook an effort to help an elderly, mentally challenged Michigan inmate who had been wrongly convicted, and who was receiving cruel treatment by prison staff. He drove across the state to be in the courtroom when a judge freed him. As we ended 2016, HFP received this nice note from his sister:
"It’s been 8 years since my beloved brother has passed. I miss him greatly...think of him so often. I am so grateful he was a free man when his time came. I don’t think I could have ever gotten over the hurt if he had not been released for a crime he never committed. I want to say thank you, again, for being a beacon of light in his darkest days. Truly God blessed us when he chose you to become the warrior for those whose voices have fallen silent on deaf ears. May you be blessed in the New Year with strength and health, and encouraged by continuing success in the treatment of those less fortunate! May God bless you always. Love, PT"