A nice young lady was interviewing me by telephone. She's majoring in criminal justice at Wayne State University and wanted some information about the work of HUMANITY FOR PRISONERS for paper that she is writing.
Then came this question...one that we hear from time to time: “With all the negative stuff that you are dealing with, are there also positive things?”
Yes there are, and the gifts may not sound big or exciting, but they're huge.
Here's a good example...good news that we just received today.
Last November I testified at the Parole Board public hearing for an African American woman who has spent more than half of her life in prison. She was abused as a child, got into all kinds of trouble growing up, and was hanging around with the wrong crowd...a crowd that wound up killing someone. She didn't commit the murder...didn't even know it happened...but she got arrested with the rest of them. She was 20 years old at the time. She's 46 now.
The public hearing, in my estimation, was a disaster. The Assistant Attorney General who did most of the questioning couldn't stop hammering on the more than 60 misconduct tickets she had received as an angry young inmate during her early years in prison.
No mention of the dramatic change in her life when she accepted Christ, went to church, went back to school, helped her fellow inmates as a hair-dresser, provided all kinds of legal assistance to prisoners as a para-legal, and received only 2 misconduct tickets since 2008...both of them questionable.
We testified on her behalf, as did the representative of another faith-based 501c3 agency. Many family members and friends were there, not only praising her new lifestyle, but promising to help her and be at her side when she is released.
The Assistant AG reported that the Wayne County Prosecutor's office opposed her release (as if someone there even remembers her or the case), and he opposed it, too.
But the letters and the testimony from us and many others must have made an impact, because against strong odds, Alfreda Drake has just been granted parole. There's no question that there was some strong divine intervention.
And that is typical of the rewards we receive.
Beautiful gifts that encourage us to keep on.
In the name of Jesus.