May 2024 Edition Click here for a PDF version


HFP's 1st Annual Fishing Derby!

Earl O'Brien spent his life creating opportunities for kids to enjoy sports and life, even if disadvantaged, disabled, or suffering from catastrophic disease. In 2005, Earl launched an offshore fishing tournament benefiting pediatric patients, and twenty years later the Kiwanis of Michigan Foundation is still fishing for kids. All proceeds benefit Child Life programs in four Michigan children's hospitals. As a means to support the Earl O'Brien Memorial Fishing Derby, as well as support and raise awareness of Humanity for Prisoners, an HFP supporter generously donated two vessels to HFP!


With no further ado, Humanity for Prisoners is thrilled to announce our 1st Annual Fishing Derby – a unique fundraiser that promises a day of fun and excitement for two great causes! Set sail from Chinook Pier in Grand Haven on Thursday 23, 2024, at 6:00 a.m. for a morning full of fishing and fun. Afterwards, join us at the dock for fish weigh-in, lunch, program, and prizes!


This fundraiser features a silent auction for just ten exclusive spots – don't miss your chance to participate in this memorable event, all while enjoying a day on the water and supporting two great causes! Submit your bids via email to for your chance to secure a spot at our 1st Annual Fishing Derby!

From the Desk of Doug

Remembering Prison Moms

My definition of “prison moms” is rather expansive. During the month of May, which includes Mother’s Day, I like to remember not only those mothers who are behind bars, but also the mothers and grandmothers of incarcerated persons.

Throughout its history, HUMANITY FOR PRISONERS has always had a heart for the entire family of persons who reside in our prison system.

Many years ago we learned that a young mother in Michigan’s only prison for women would not be able to attend a birthday party for her eight-year-old daughter. An HFP volunteer picked up the little girl and her grandmother and took them to the prison for a party!

We heard that a prisoner’s mother was handicapped, and therefore unable to make the long drive to his facility for a visit. An HFP board member drove to Lansing and picked up the disabled mom, delivering her to the prison for a warm, in-person visit!

When we learned that the elderly and ailing mother of two sons in prison was banned from visiting because of a bench warrant due to unpaid traffic tickets, we worked with another non-profit agency to set up a GoFundMe account. We not only raised the money to pay the overdue fines, but a member of the HFP staff personally accompanied the Detroit woman to the courthouse to make certain her name was cleared!

We take this verse in Hebrews seriously:

Remember those in prison, as if you were there yourself.

Books for Children of Prisoners: Moving Forward!

HFP Executive Director Mark Hartman reports progress in our new and innovative effort to supply books to the children of incarcerated moms and dads. We’re entering into a partnership with Dolly Parton's Imagination Library, whereby, preschoolers who have a mother or father in prison will receive a free book each month!


HFP has submitted a request to MDOC's Director Heidi Washington for permission to place posters in all Michigan prisons. Prisoners will be encouraged to register their children in cities where they reside. Hartman said that his office is currently working with partner Barbara Saunders Sims, Oceana County Director of United Way of the Lakeshore, on ways and means to implement the new program.

Giving Credit where it's Due

We often complain about in-prison medical care. However, recently our office received word of heroic efforts by corrections officers to save 2 prisoners who suffered recent heart attacks. In the first case, staff shocked Mr. R seven times, did compressions, and also used two cans of Narcan simply because no one was sure what was causing the problem. In the second case, after going to the hospital in Saginaw, Mr. T was taken to McLaren in Lansing. He’s still talking about the wonderful food and what they did to save his life. Congratulations and thanks to the many prison staffers who attend to their duties with pride and integrity!

Voices of Prisoners

Longtime HFP client Big Ben describes coping behind bars!


As I awaken to the warm glow of the early morning sun on my face, I reflexively gazed through the window next to my bunk, and I was treated to the scene of a beautiful landscape with wide open rolling fields, and a plush carpet of neatly cropped green grass dotted here and there with tiny little yellow heads of dandelions. As my view was stretched to its further-most limits, I could just barely make out the more densely forested background just beyond a distant ridge, and imagined the peaceful seclusion of its calming embrace.

At first, for me -- it was difficult to see the beauty of this glorious panoramic view, that is until I learned how to use my mind's eye in order to erase the cold steel bars bordering my window, and the miles of shimmering ribbon-like, double linked chained fencing topped with rolls of Concertina razor-wire that crisscrossed and camouflaged the true beauty of the land.

Taking it all in, it serves as a stark reminder in both esthetics and in life that: Not everything is as it appears to be, but can be changed into what you want it to be.

Dog trainer Doug tells of a Catholic dog in the paws program!

I took Zeta to church tonight. She did well despite having three weeks' worth of pent-up desire for playtime. During Mass, my function is to do the second reading, and when I've an unruly dog, I hand the leash to a fellow handler while I go to the podium. Tonight, I took Zeta with me, and when I genuflected before the Host on my way to the podium, Zeta bowed, too! The girl's Catholic, evidently!

Mike is grateful for a treasured family reunion!

I really appreciate you all so much! You all helped me find my daughter in Florida and our bond has become so strong I will be moving with her upon my release. THANKS!!!

Nancy thanks Doug for his support over the years!

You have always given me the strength and hope to hold on. Bless you for that.

Behind Our Walls

An upcoming screening of the award-winning documentary

· 5/30 @ 7pm: Holland Museum, Holland, MI.

This screening is free to attend!

May 7: National Foster Care Day

On National Foster Care Day, we acknowledge the foster care-to-prison pipeline, and honor all of those who were mislead from foster care to incarceration.

From d365 Daily Devotions



In a world of death and despair

where suffering, isolation, violence, and pain overwhelm us,

we are shown a world of rising and living,

where hope, healing, love, and justice have the last and final word.


Go forth into the world with justice and compassion in your heart.

Amplify voices of the long silenced.

Name strength in that which has been deemed weak.

Hear one another.

See one another.

Care for one another.

And love one another.

It’s all that easy.

And it’s all that hard.

HFP Activity Report

April Requests for Assistance: 916

Total 2024 Requests for Assistance: 4,254

Humanity for Prisoners

Humanity for Prisoners is a 501C3 non-profit organization that works one-on-one with prisoners in the Michigan Department of Corrections to help resolve any non-legal issues our clients face.

Click here to support our work today!