HFP Blog: Prisoner medical co-pay must end!
December 5, 2019
Co-pay for Michigan prisoners who need medical attention is a bad idea, and it’s time to speak up. See today’s piece HERE. https://humanityforprisoners.blogspot.com/2019/12/no-more-talk-about-co-pay-its-time-for.html
Unlock the fullness of life this week
December 2, 2019
"Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend."
December 1, 2019
"In all things give thanks."
1 Thessalonians 5:18
A Double Recipe for Double the Joy
Double your support of Michigan’s imprisoned with Humanity for Prisoners today!
November 27, 2019
This holiday season, you can create DOUBLE the impact for DOUBLE the people in need by giving to Humanity for Prisoners! A generous donor has just agreed to gift $1 for every dollar donated up to $50,000 through the end of 2019, which means your gift can DOUBLE the impact HFP makes in the lives of thousands of prisoners!
LET’S SPREAD HUMANITY! DONATE TODAY
If we match every dollar, for a total of $100,000, this will allow HFP to answer over 4,000 calls for assistance and receive responses like this: “Your organization came into my life when all hope was gone. You are saving lives!”
As a friend of Humanity for Prisoners you are already aware that our clients have nowhere else to turn, have faced ordeals often diminishing their sense of humanity, and that your support helps us to provide them with the ability to be heard, acknowledged, and treated with compassion. Now your gift has double the impact for our program!
Our office needs $25,000 each month to continue responding to over 1,000 requests per month. Your donation to Humanity for Prisoners allows us to dramatically change lives for the better. Your support makes this possible.
There are many worthwhile organizations looking for your support at this time of year - we hope that you will make double the positive impact with a gift to Humanity for Prisoners. Your support of our mission works very directly in improving the lives that are most marginalized and forgotten. And if you have a corporate match through your company, please add us to triple the effect of your gift!
Please click here to make a donation today!
Peace and all the best to you and yours,
The Humanity for Prisoners Team
P.S. Please share this message with the people in your life who share our values. We need a broad community of support to help the men and women often forgotten in Michigan’s prison system.
HFP Blog: On Thanksgiving Eve, Doug’s thoughts in our annual holiday post: Blessed Thanksgiving to you. And that’s no baloney!
The beauty of HFP
November 26, 2019
“One of the most beautiful things about HFP is that they support people because they are people, because they recognize the dignity and humanity which each person has, no matter how broken their life has become."
The Rev. Dr. Jared Kramer, Nov. 6 edition of the Grand Haven Tribune
Be a leader this week
November 25, 2019
“Never let yourself be persuaded that any one Great Man, any one leader, is necessary to the salvation of America. When America consists of one leader and 158 million followers, it will no longer be America.”
― Dwight D. Eisenhower
November 24, 2019
"God thunders wondrously with his voice;
he does great things that we cannot comprehend."
HFP Blog: Can transfers be handled better?
November 22, 2019
Day after day, week after week, friends and family members complain to HFP about prisoner transfers. Inmates go so far away that visits are almost impossible. Can that system be improved? We think so. Read Doug's thoughts HERE.
Stand Courageously this Week
November 18, 2019
"Standing courageously for an unpopular opinion isn't easy, but the rewards of standing courageously for the truth will last forever."
November 17, 2019
"The LORD detests lying lips, but he delights in people who are trustworthy."
HFP Blog: Death Row Memories
November 15, 2019
The news that a vigil was held last night in front of the US Supreme Court building in Washington DC, hoping to delay a Texas execution, brought back memories for Doug. In 2007 he went to death row in Texas, and was there for the execution of a client and friend. Read the latest blog entry HERE.
RIP, Governor Bill
November 14, 2019
Michiganders were saddened by the passing of one of the state’s most popular governors recently, William "Bill" Milliken. HFP founder Doug Tjapkes remembers the day that he and the governor sat in the front row of a public hearing together, both hoping to persuade the Parole Board to free a deserving woman. That started a friendship that lasted until the governor’s passing.
Gov. Milliken had a heart for prisoners, and expressed remorse later in life that he didn't grant more commutations during his Governorship. He was so impressed with our work that he gave Doug an undated later to use, when and as often as necessary, to raise financial support. And from that day on, he personally supported HFP. The letter dates back to when Doug was a one-man show, but the words still ring true today: (click HERE for PDF)
I want to tell you of a friend from Grand Haven who is doing such remarkable work with prisoners – many of whom have been unjustly or wrongfully imprisoned – that I am hopefully you may wish to begin giving your support to him and his work.
His name is Doug Tjapkes. He is a former broadcast journalist and a former small radio station owner. More importantly, he is a fine human being. He is operating a largely volunteer group, HUMANITY FOR PRISONERS. Doug’s efforts have been tireless, and the expenses for him to travel from his home to so man of Michigan’s prisoners, to accompany prisoners on trips before the Parole Board, and to see their freedom if they are fortunate enough to win it, grows steadily. Many of their stories are heart-wrenching and tragic. I and several others have made contributions to assist him in his outstanding efforts. He has worked on wrongful convictions, paroles and commutations, medical care, and their specialized needs and, hopefully, re-entry into society.
Doug’s involvement has grown because the need so outweighs the resources to finance the project. The financial need is becoming greater all the time, and I am please to report this to you, as it means that the word of his work is being better known and the need for assistance even greater.
I am confident that any financial assistance you might feel you wish to give would help enormously in the good work he is doing.
I would be most grateful to you for your consideration.
William G. Milliken
Alex Kotlowitz's thoughts on HFP
November 13, 2019
Well-known Chicago author and journalist Alex Kotlowitz first met Doug back in the 1990s, as he fought for Maurice Carter’s freedom. Recently Alex visited Grand Haven to relive some of those memories and to participate in an HFP-sponsored community event. We hope to post a video of his entire speech on our web site, but for now, please take 4-minutes to hear what Alex had to say about Humanity for Prisoners: https://youtu.be/bmI224egrdo
Recognizing Veterans this week
November 11, 2019
“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
Happy Birthday: We wish HFP founder Doug Tjapkes a happy 83rd birthday today!
November 10, 2019
"God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble."
HFP Blog: For gay and transgender people, things aren’t easy in society. And it gets much worse in prison. We’re here for them. See Doug’s comments HERE.
Speak up this week
November 4, 2019
"You are not only responsible for what you say, but also for what you do not say."
November 3, 2019
"For you are saved by grace through faith, and this is not from yourselves; it is God’s gift."
HFP Blog: It can happen to you!
November 1, 2019
It’s something that always happens to the other guy: wrongful convictions. Wrong! See Doug’s comments this morning on the HFP blog HERE.
Prisoner Awareness Day this Sunday
October 30, 2019
Sunday, November 3, has been designated Prisoner Awareness Day at Ferrysburg Community Church, 17785 Mohawk Drive, Spring Lake. Dr. John Rottman of Calvin Seminary will be guest speaker at the Adult Education Class, beginning at 9:15, to discuss the Calvin Prison Initiative program. Dr. Rottman, also a board member of HFP, will be the guest preacher for the 10:30 worship service. HFP founder Doug Tjapkes will be introducing a parolee who is free today thanks to HFP efforts. Everyone invited. And please consider a similar event in YOUR church. We’ll help!
Tell the truth this week
October 28, 2019
"He who permits himself to tell a lie once, finds it much easier to do it a second and third time, till at length it becomes habitual; he tells lies without attending to it, and truths without the world's believing him. This falsehood of the tongue leads to that of the heart, and in time depraves all its good dispositions.."
October 27, 2019
"But whoever has the world's goods, and sees his brother in need and closes his heart against him, how does the love of God abide in him?"
I John 3:17
HFP Blog: Honoring Maurice
October 25, 2019
It was just 15 years ago that we said goodbye to Maurice Carter. We think he’d be pleased with today’s version of his dream! See Doug's latest blog HERE.
Sweet Freedom Legacy Circle
October 23, 2019
Last Thursday at the Alex Kotlowitz event, HFP's Chairman of the Board of Directors, Russ Bloem, introduced the Sweet Freedom Legacy Circle. This project is established to acknowledge and thank those friends and supporters who have committed to carrying forward the Humanity for Prisoners mission through their planned gifts and to encourage and inspire others to do the same. The details:
Ensuring the future
With compassion for Michigan’s imprisoned, Humanity for Prisoners provides, promotes and ensures—with strategic partnerships— personalized, problem-solving services for incarcerated persons in order to alleviate suffering beyond the just administration of their sentences.
The Sweet Freedom Legacy Circle was established in 2019 to acknowledge and thank those friends and supporters who have committed to carrying forward the Humanity for Prisoners mission through their planned gifts and to encourage and inspire others to do the same.
Honoring the founders
Doug Tjapkes formed the organization in 2001 based on a dream of his best friend, Maurice Carter, who had been behind bars for 29 years for a crime he did not commit. It was Maurice’s goal to convert this negative into a positive and serve as an advocate for all prisoners with special needs. The two of them planned to work together upon his release from prison. While Maurice passed away soon after his release, Doug met this challenge and founded HFP.
Doug authored a book telling of his ten-year relationship with Maurice and their epic battle for justice entitled, Sweet Freedom.
As a member of the Sweet Freedom Legacy Circle you will receive:
• an autographed copy of Sweet Freedom
• recognition in our newsletter and on our website (optional)
• VIP invitations to all HFP events, including an annual membership celebration
Here is how you join!
• Arrange for a gift
• Notify us of your plans by completing and returning the form HERE
• We will follow up to confirm your intentions.
… or request more information by contacting the Humanity for Prisoners office at
616-935-0075 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Turn toward the good this week
October 21, 2019
“To individuals and to nations both, Jesus says the same thing. Turn away from madness, cruelty, shallowness, blindness. Turn toward that tolerance, compassion, sanity, hope, justice that we all have in us at our best."
HFP Blog: Redemption - A word we like to hear on Sunday, but not very much on Monday! Doug standing up once again for the “little guy.” Read HERE.
October 20, 2019
“I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”
What a night!
October 18, 2019
Guests packed the room at St. Patrick's Church in Grand Haven last night to welcome author Alex Kotlowitz
to West Michigan. Alex spoke about sharing the stories of those forgotten by society, and the lessons he's
learned along the way.
In addition, HFP made two major announcements. We introduced the Sweet Freedom Legacy Circle, a
planned giving program that will help ensure the work of HFP continues on for years to come. Also,
long-time supporters Peter and Judy VanderArk were honored with the Maurice H. Carter Humanitarian
Award given to our volunteers of the year!
We thank everyone who came out to this special evening! A special thanks also to our friend Bill Klouw for
taking the pictures from the night's events.
See you tonight!
October 17, 2019
It's our biggest event of the year, and everyone here at Humanity for Prisoners invites you to join us as we welcome Alex Kotlowitz to town. The doors open at 6:30 at St. Patrick-St.Anthony Parish on the corner of Fulton and US 31 in Grand Haven, with the event starting at 7.
Says Alex: "There's something exhilarating about telling stories that haven't been shared before and haven't been told publicly before. The last thing I want to be doing is telling stories other people have already told."
Come hear the stories tonight. If you don't have a ticket, they will be available at the door. We look forward to seeing you there!
Forgive this week
October 14, 2019
“In a nation that likes to see itself as forgiving, we are mulishly unforgiving of those who have committed a felony...”
― Alex Kotlowitz
October 13, 2019
"Love prospers when a fault is forgiven, but dwelling on it separates close friends."
HFP Blog: HFP client Joe Johnson’s Public Hearing before the Michigan Parole Board went quite well Thursday. Doug, Matt and Holly were there to support him. At the end, though, the Assistant Attorney General tried to rain on the parade. Read Doug comments HERE.
Innocence Project Leader Added to HFP Board
October 9. 2019
Marla Mitchell-Cichon, Director of the WMU-Cooley Innocence Project in Lansing, has been appointed to a three-year term on the Humanity for Prisoners Board of Directors. The announcement was made today by board chairman Russ Bloem.
Professor Mitchell-Cichon began her teaching career in 1986 at the University of Akron, and joined WMU-Cooley Law School in
The WMU-Cooley Innocence Project is one of two such projects in the state. It works to free innocent Michigan prisoners through
the use of DNA testing. In 2006, Professor Mitchell-Cichon received the Justice for All Award from the Criminal Defense Attorneys
of Michigan (CDAM) and in 2014 the WMU-Cooley Innocence Project received the Outstanding Community Contribution award from the WMU-Cooley Student Bar Association.
Professor Mitchell-Cichon works closely with the Access to Justice Clinic (Grand Rapids campus), a clinic she helped to develop. She has extensive practice experience in criminal and poverty law. Her litigation experience includes cases before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, the Ohio Supreme Court, the Michigan Supreme Court and trial and appellate courts in both Ohio and Michigan. She also works on legislative reform to improve the criminal justice system.
“It’s interesting to note,” said Bloem, “that HFP’s roots are in a wrongful conviction. It was our founder, Doug Tjapkes’ work to free Maurice Carter, an innocent Michigan prisoner, that led to the establishment of this organization. With Marla’s expertise and experience, her input to our board and our daily operations will be exceptional.”
Humanity for Prisoners is a prisoner advocacy agency based in Spring Lake.
Let go this week
October 7, 2019
"Learn this from me. Holding anger is a poison. It eats you from inside. We think that hating is a weapon that attacks the person who harmed us. But hatred is a curved blade. And the harm we do, we do to ourselves."
HFP Blog: The Maurice Carter story was told in a new and exciting venue over the weekend! Read Doug’s comments this morning HERE.
"Do not be quickly provoked in your spirit, for anger resides in the lap of fools."
Play about HFP founders goes to Atlanta!
October 2, 2019
Today is International Wrongful Conviction Day. In conjunction with that, we are pleased to announce that a staged reading of the play JUSTICE FOR MAURICE HENRY CARTER will be presented in Atlanta this week.
The performance is part of the Atlanta Black Theatre Festival’s Staged Reading Series. The play, by Canadians Donald Molnar and Alicia Payne, is based on the true story of the enduring friendship between the wrongly convicted Maurice Carter who spent 29 years in prison, and his friend Doug Tjapkes, of Spring Lake.
The playwrights are from Toronto, and the host of the performance in is Nadia Theodor, the Consul General of Canada in Atlanta.
Doug is the founder of Humanity for Prisoners, a prisoner advocacy agency based in Spring Lake. He will be an honored guest at the performance in Atlanta, and will participate in an audience feed-back following the presentation.
HFP sets new record!
October 1, 2019
The month of September brought a record number of requests for assistance to the Humanity for Prisoners office. A total of 990 requests came in, breaking the previous record (set in August) of 949. Before August, the most requests HFP had ever received in a month was 710.
"I think it's safe to say the secret is out," HFP President Matt Tjapkes said. "It's a continued testament to the work we're doing, including all the help from staff and our expert panel of volunteers."
HFP is also just 30 requests away from setting a new mark for most contacts in a year. We thank all of you for your continued support as we touch a record number of lives each month!
HFP Blog: One of the nation’s finest athletes has taken a year off to help a wrongly convicted friend. A major story on network news these days. Friends of HFP are drawing parallels between that story and the Maurice Carter/Doug Tjapkes saga. As we approach International Wrongful Conviction Day, Doug shares his thoughts HERE.
Starting "Wrongful Conviction Day" week
September 30, 2019
International Wrongful Conviction Day arrives this week Wednesday, October 2. Says Bryan Stevenson, author of JUST MERCY:
"I don't think there's been a time in American history with more innocent people in prison."
September 29, 2019
"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."
HFP Blog: Whistleblowers
September 27, 2019
A lot of discussion these days about whistleblowers. Doug says we would do well to listen. Read today's entry HERE.
Start your legacy this week
September 16, 2019
“The things you do for yourself are gone when you are gone, but the things you do for others remain as your legacy.”
― Kalu Ndukwe Kalu
September 15, 2019
"Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God."
Philippians 4:6 6
Alex Kotlowitz Tickets on Sale!
September 11, 2019
Humanity for Prisoners is thrilled to welcome best-selling author Alex Kotlowitz to West Michigan to raise awareness of issues within our criminal justice system and to highlight the important work of our organization. Kotlowtiz's appearance will be Thursday, October 17 at 7 p.m. at Lakeshore Middle School, 900 Cutler St. Grand Haven.
Kotlowitz, author of "There Are No Children Here," "The Other Side of the River," "Never a City So Real," and "American Summer," was a friend of the late Maurice Carter, and readily accepted HFP’s invitation! He has a personal interest in prisons. In 2016 he worked with inmates of Illinois’ Stateville Prison writing essays about their lives in cells, now featured in the podcast "Written Inside."
If you are interested in being a sponsor for the event, including having dinner with Alex beforehand, you can find details on sponsorship HERE. Tickets for the event are $25 in advance, $15 for students and $30 at the door. Tickets are available at The Bookman in Grand Haven (715 Washington Ave.) or online HERE.
We are excited to work with The Bookman to provide this exciting and important community event. We look forward to seeing you there!
Stand in awe this week
September 9, 2019
“What we need in the world is a compassion that stands in awe at the burdens the poor have to carry rather than stand in judgment at the way they carry them."
Fr Greg Boyle
HFP Blog: For those who did not see the two Lester Holt specials on mass incarceration over the weekend, please take the time to watch both programs. Of particular importance was the Sunday night town-forum at Sing Sing Prison on MSNBC. Then, related to what Holt describes as “An American Crisis,” we suggest you read our weekend entry HERE.
September 8, 2019
“But even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed. Do not fear their threats ; do not be frightened.”
I Peter 3:14
A profile of HFP at work, all within one week!
September 6, 2019
HFP Client Eddie: "I have a friend named Bob. He has terminal cancer and could use a visit if at all possible. He used to be my bunkie. It appears to me that he is going downhill rather rapidly. He could use a ray of light, and let’s face it. That is what you are!"
HFP Medical Director, Dr. Bob Bulten: "I've penciled him in for a visit tomorrow afternoon."
Dr Bulten the next day: "I had a wonderful visit with Bob this afternoon. He was told 2 weeks ago that he has CA of the lung, liver, and gall bladder, that there is no treatment for that. He teared up a few times as he told me, but he’s not bitter and relies on his faith to get him through this."
New HFP client Bob: "I had a couple of hours with Dr. Bob and after 15 minutes it seemed I had known him forever. To say I am devastated is an understatement. I have been ready to meet my maker and have been for years but when you are smacked in the face with this type of news it still rocks ya. I once again thank all of you at Humanity for Prisoners. You all have lifted my spirits at a time that they were really low."
HFP President, Medical Director to Speak in Spring Lake
September 4, 2019
Humanity for Prisoners President Matt Tjapkes will be joined by volunteer Medical Director Dr. Robert Bulten for a special presentation Spring Lake District Library on Thursday, Sept. 12 at 7:00 pm.
The presentation will start with an introduction to HFP, including a brief video, before the topic turns to health care in the Michigan Department of Corrections. Tjapkes and Bulten will also be joined by a former client of Humanity for Prisoners who struggled with health care before receiving assistance from HFP. The presentation will conclude with a Q&A session with attendees.
Humanity for Prisoners, with offices in Spring Lake, is a 501 c 3 non-profit organization that works one-on-one with inmates in the MDOC to help them resolve non-legal matters they face while incarcerated. HFP has worked with over 3,000 inmates in the MDOC and this year alone has handled over 5,800 requests for assistance.
Uplift Humanity this Labor Day Week
September 2, 2019
"All labor that uplifts humanity has dignity."
— Martin Luther King, Jr.
September 1, 2019
"Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters."
HFP turns 18!
August 29, 2019
Former Grand Haven broadcaster Doug Tjapkes and his former corporate attorney John Carlyle sat down in 2001 to develop an agency that might be able to help prisoners. Today we celebrate the formation of what is now known as Humanity for Prisoners! Read more HERE.
HFP Blog: Some thoughts on those who have no one to pray for them
August 27, 2019
The singing group founded by Doug 47 years ago sang its last song Sunday. But there’s a link between the work of HIS MEN and HFP. See today’s blog entry HERE.
Do what you think you can't this week
August 26, 2019
“We gain strength, and courage, and confidence by each experience in which we really stop to look fear in the face...we must do that which we think we cannot."
August 25, 2019
"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."
Find your place this week
August 19, 2019
"The place God calls you to is the place where your deep gladness and the world's hunger meet."
― Frederick Buechner
August 18, 2019
"He saves the needy from the sword in their mouth; he saves them from the clutches of the powerful. So the poor have hope, and injustice shuts its mouth."
HFP receives financial support from prisoners!
August 14, 2019
Humanity for Pirsoners has received a $2,000 grant from the Prisoner Benefit Fund of G. Robert Cotton Correctional Facility in Jackson! Prisoner Benefit Funds (PBFs) may be used to fund services, equipment, and supplies which have a direct benefit to prisoners. Each Michigan prison has its own PBF, administered by a special committee made up of prisoner representatives and staff members. Much of the money in the fund comes from prison store sales and prison vending machines.
“In that committees generally allocate these funds toward purchases of items such as recreational equipment and microwave ovens, we consider a contribution from a PBF as the ultimate compliment for services we provide,” said HFP President Matt Tjapkes.
Build this week
August 12, 2019
"Great anger and violence can never build a nation."
HFP Blog: Will the Epstein death behind bars focus attention on a bigger problem? We hope so, but don’t bet on it! See Doug’s post today HERE.
August 11, 2019
"Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God."
August 9, 2019
Two Michigan prisoners have made a difference, in a big way! Check out Doug’s blog HERE.
A profile of HFP assistance
August 7, 2019
Client's wife contacts HFP
“Jeff has a growth on the top of his right ear. It has grown in size substantially over the last 6 months and I worry that it could be something serious.”
Same day response from HFP Medical Director:
“It probably is a broken blood vessel. I doubt that it is anything serious.”
Two days later, Dr. Bob makes a personal visit to the client:
“Stopped in to see Jeff. The thing on his ear is most likely a cyst. I reassured him, and Health Care is actually following it.”
Four days later, from client's wife:
“Jeff and I are so grateful that Dr Bob came out to check Jeff's ear and visit with him. Dr Bob also got Jeff a burger and drink which was an extra treat. We are relieved that it is nothing more serious. Thank you so much to you and Dr Bob for getting Jeff checked out and giving us some relief."
HFP Blog: Talk or action?
August 6, 2019
Whether it’s prisoner issues or mass shootings, there’s always a lot of talk, seldom a lot of action. See Doug’s comments HERE.
Show civility this week
August 5, 2019
"Civility is not not saying negative or harsh things. It is not the absence of critical analysis. It is the manner in which we are sharing this territorial freedom of political discussion. If our discourse is yelled and screamed and interrupted and patronized, that's uncivil."
August 4, 2019
"Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor."
HFP Blog: David vs. Goliath
August 2, 2019
Several years ago, HFP worked with a group of Prisoner Observer Aides at Huron Valley who were witnessing serious abuse of mentally ill prisoners. Thanks to the efforts of these courageous women, led by inmate Sharee Miller, the U.S. Department of Justice eventually came to Ypsilanti to investigate these problems. The downside was that Sharee lost her job as a POA over this. The Department was not pleased. Today’s entry on our blog site tells of her recent victory to not only get her job back, but to allow observers to tell others about the bad things they witness. We invite you, first, to read Paul Egan’s fine reporting of this story:
Then we suggest you to read our blog entry, loosely based on the David and Goliath story of I Timothy 17:
HFP Blog: Time for FOIA law change!
July 31, 2019
Day after day, week after week, HFP does its best to help prisoners retrieve important files that are available to the public under the Freedom of Information Act. Why? Because Michigan won’t let inmates do it on their own! HERE is our blog entry today, and it won’t be our last!
Michigan PB gets a C-
July 30, 2019
The MDOC’s parole process ranked slightly worse than average in a nationwide comparison. The research was done by Citizens United for Rehabilitation of Errants (CURE). CURE gave grades to all states that have parole based on 18 different factors…crime-reducing policies that CURE felt that parole decisions should be based on. Michigan’s parole process received a C-. Said CURE:The “nature of the crime” or “seriousness of the offense” should not be the reason for parole denial.
Live this week with love and kindness
July 29, 2019
“Love and kindness are never wasted. They always make a difference. They bless the one who receives them, and they bless you, the giver.”
– Barbara De Angelis
July 28, 2019
"Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves."
HFP Founders play to be performed
July 26, 2019
The Atlanta Black Theatre Festival has scheduled a stage reading for JUSTICE FOR MAURICE HENRY CARTER.
That exciting news comes to us from Donald Molnar and Alicia Payne, award-winning playwrights who penned
the story of HFP founders Maurice Carter and Doug Tjapkes. We’re told that the stage presentation is scheduled
for Friday, October 4, at 3 PM in Atlanta’s Porter Sanford III Performing Arts Center. For those who will be in the
area at that time, tickets are $7.50, and hotel discounts are available for festival participants. HFP client DJ
Montney created the artwork for the striking postcard announcement.
July 24th - An important day to HFP!
July 24, 2019
July 24th is a special day here at HFP. Founder Doug Tjapkes shares his thoughts in today's blog HERE.
Starting the Week with Kindness
July 22, 2019
"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
July 21, 2019
"Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you."
Start the Week with Courage
July 15, 2019
“True courage is cool and calm. The bravest of men have the least of a brutal, bullying insolence, and in the very time of danger are found the most serene and free.”
Anthony Ashley-Cooper, 3rd Earl of Shaftesbury
July 14, 2019
"For whoever would love life and see good days must keep their tongue from evil and their lips from deceitful speech. They must turn from evil and do good; they must seek peace and pursue it."
1 Peter 3:10-11
HFP Blog: What kind of gospel is that?
July 12, 2019
So, where should the church be In all of these social controversies? Should the church take a stand, or should the church stay out of it? Read Doug’s thoughts in today’s blog entry HERE.
330 Lives Touched by You!
July 10, 2019
The first half of 2019 saw HFP break records again for the number clients served. HFP's Client Services Specialist Susie Greenbauer reports that through June 30, HFP has helped 330 new clients this year, in addition to the 2,000+ on our active list. In February, HFP set a new monthly record with 710 requests for assistance.
Your support is making a difference in these lives! Clients are getting medical assistance, much-needed legal documents, connecting with lost friends and family and much more, all thanks to your partnership with HFP.
HFP Blog: Black & White = Red?
July 9, 2019
Did a weekend TV interview with Bryan Stevenson stir your emotions? Read how it affected Doug HERE.
Starting the Week with Humility
July 8, 2019
"I believe the first test of a truly great man is in his humility."
HFP Blog: How much money did you spend on your 4th of July picnic? Let’s compare that with how much the State of Michigan spends on 3 meals a day for our prisoners HERE.
July 7, 2019
"Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven."
Happy Independence Day from HFP
July 4, 2019
“God did not burden the United States with a diversity of backgrounds, ideals and religions, he BLESSED America with them… and we in our diversity and differences are all in this together.”
~ Rep. Emanuel Cleaver
HFP Blog: No opinions on this Fourth of July…just some ideas for serious thinking! Read the latest entry HERE.
Show allegiance this week
July 1, 2019
“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."
June 30, 2019
“Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!”
HFP Blog: When non-religious organizations do work that is Christ-like. Some thoughts from HFP founder Doug Tjapkes HERE.
NLA rally this fall
June 28, 2019
The National Lifers of America, Inc., in conjunction with other organizations, is sponsoring a Rally for Lifer Law, Prison and Criminal justice Reform at the State Capitol on Thursday October 10, 2019, from 11:00 AM to 2:00 PM.
The Michigan the prison system is undergirded by a thirty-year era of get tough on crime and offenders policies that have fostered high recidivism rates, overcrowded prisons, and a 2 billion annual corrections budget. Now is the time for Michigan citizens to let their voices be heard. We can make changes and there is power in numbers. So please come join us as we share with lawmakers sensible and safe solutions to prison and criminal justice reform.
A decent and free society, founded in respect for the individual, ought not run a prison system with a sign at the entrance for inmates saying, "Abandon Hope, All Ye Who Enter Here."
If you would like to register to participate in the Rally, want to volunteer, make a donation, or be a speaker at the rally, please call 586-741-1918.
Donations cane be made to:
F.I.N.D., Inc. c/o NLA Rally
P.0. Box 37872, Oak Park, MI 48235
Pure Word Community Development, c/o NLA Rally
20011 Grand River, Detroit, MI 48219
Bus and/or Van Seating is Limited. Please call for seat reservations before September 9, 2019.
Starting the Week with Mark Hatfield
June 24, 2019
“We stand by as children starve by the millions because we lack the will to end hunger. But we have found the will to develop missiles capable of flying over the polar cap and landing within a few hundred feet of their target. This is not innovation. It is a profound distortion of humanity’s purpose on earth.”
~ Senator Mark Hatfield
June 23, 2019
"Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God."
HFP Blog on False Confessions
June 21, 2019
The President’s stance on false confessions isn’t helping our cause, says Doug. Read the latest blog entry HERE.
Stand tall this week
June 17, 2019
"No man stands taller than when he stoops to help a child."
- Abraham Lincoln
Father's Day Verse
June 16, 2019
"The righteous man walks with integrity; blessed are his children after him."
June 10, 2019
"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 9, 2019
"Each one must do just as he has purposed in his heart, not grudgingly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver."
2 Corinthians 9:7
HFP Blog: "Jesus hovers above your door"
June 7, 2019
Our good friend Mitch Mackay, elderly and ailing, was unable to make the trip downstate from Each Jordan this week. But he had this to say about our open house event: "I have already been there in my mind’s eye, stood in awe at the transfiguration, the compassion, the instilling of empathy for all regardless cost and funding. Jesus hovers above your door."
And that led to our newest post HERE.
Thanks for visiting!
June 6, 2019
Humanity for Prisoners welcomed dozens of guests to our new office over the last two days, and we want to say
thank you for all who were able to make it out! It was a wonderful opportunity for us to share not only the new
office, but to give our supporters an idea of where the organization is headed and what everyone can do to help
us get there!
If you were unable to make the event but still want to check out the office some time, just email Matt at
email@example.com or give us a call, we'll be happy to give out a personal tour!
Our special thanks to Bill Klouw for taking some pictures for us as well, including the picture above. Watch our
Facebook page for more pictures in the days to come.
HFP Blog: Welcome!
June 4, 2019
We welcome you to our new digs, and love to tell our story! See Doug’s blog today HERE.
Recognize Humanity this Week
June 3, 2019
"All of our humanity is dependent upon recognizing the humanity in others."
June 2, 2019
"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."
HFP helps prisoners “give back”
May 29, 2019
Humanity for Prisoners has received a special “thank you” from a group of prisoners at the Macomb Correctional Facility in New Haven. A delightful assortment of crocheted stuffed animals arrived from members of the Teddy Bear Project.
Ellen Pach, sponsor of the project, said that gift was to especially thank HFP Board Member Judy
VanderArk, and her husband Pete, who have coordinated our yarn project for years. They work with
volunteers to collect unused spools of yarn from a carpet factory, and then see that it gets delivered
to various state prisons. Thousands of pounds of yarn, valued at thousands of dollars, have been
delivered to prison hobby-craft programs over the years.
Said Ms. Pach: “We currently have approximately 15 prisoners who sew and crochet every Thursday
afternoon. We create children’s blankets & quilts, hats & scarves, and stuffed animals. The items are
then delivered to many organizations such as: Detroit Rescue Mission, Beaumont Hospital, Turning
Point Shelter, Children’s Hospital, first responders, and a camp for children affected by AIDS. Our men take great pride in their work and are very grateful to be able to ‘give back.’”
Ms. Pach said the program continues thanks to donations like that of HFP.
HFP Blog: Governor Whitmer recently signed a series of bills that will help elderly and ailing prisoners get a parole. Did HFP have anything to do with that? Some think so. See today’s post HERE.
Starting the Week with Gratitude
May 27, 2019
"Ceremonies are important. But our gratitude has to be more than visits to the troops, and once-a-year Memorial Day ceremonies. We honor the dead best by treating the living well."
Jennifer M. Granholm
HFP Blog: There are more than 2,200 military veterans in the Michigan prison system. HFP pays tribute to those vets today, as well as the MDOC. Read the latest entry HERE.
May 26, 2019
"Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go."
Open House June 5th
May 15, 2019
Humanity for Prisoners welcomes everyone to come check out our new office on Wednesday, June 5th, from 5 to 7 p.m. Our office is located at 14998 Cleveland St., Unit D, in Spring Lake.
This Open House is for anyone and everyone who is interested in the work of HFP. We'll have refreshments, and you'll have a chance to meet the staff and tour our new work space.
Please mark your calendars! We look forward to seeing you there.
Thanking Mom this week
May 13, 2019
"All that I am, or hope to be, I owe to my angel mother."
May 12, 2019
Mother's Day Verse
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.”
HFP Blog: Mother’s Day isn’t the happiest day behind bars. See today’s blog HERE.
Blessing the new building!
May 10, 2019
At a recent dedication of our new office building, the Board of Directors offered this prayer:
God of the forgotten, we pray that you will make this a space where people are remembered.
God of hope, we pray that you will make this space a light for those waiting in the darkness of
despair. God of justice, make this space a reservoir of restoration for those who have been
God of power and might, protect those who labor here for justice. Encourage them in the face
of indifference and injustice. Remind them that even when the wrong seems oft so strong, you
are the ruler yet.
We dedicate this space to the coming of your perfect kingdom. We commit this space toward
the day when justice rolls on like a river, and righteousness like a never-failing stream. May
compassion flow from this space into every prison cell, into the heart of every prisoner and
prison staff member.
Come and fill this space for your glory and for the restoration of your world. Bring provision, wisdom, courage, energy, and love, which binds them all together perfectly.
We pray this in the name of the one who was wrongly convicted and yet conquered injustice.
Our thanks to Rev. Nate Visker of Ferrysburg Community Church, who wrote this prayer!
Do something this week
May 6, 2019
Do something this week
"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do, so throw off the bowlines, sail away from safe harbor, catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore, Dream, Discover.”
– Mark Twain
May 5, 2019
"So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand."
HFP Blog: Joe wasn’t happy with us, but even then, we’ll be here for him! Read the latest entry HERE.