----- Original Message -----
From: Doug Tjapkes
Sent: Thursday, September 08, 2005 12:38 PM
Subject: the ongoing financial struggle of innocence organizations

When you stop to think about it, there are some remarkable comparisons between the hurricane victims and the
wrongly convicted.

Many are non-white, most are terribly poor, and all are in a situation that they didn't want and don't deserve!  My
colleagues will back me up when I assure the skeptics that living conditions in prison are often just as hellish as those
in the flooded areas of Louisiana and Mississippi.  Threats of personal danger and disease are just as prevalent.

Yet, there is a major difference in public response.

Assisting those affected by natural disaster is extremely popular.  On the other hand, many people still contend that all
persons in prison belong there, that prison living conditions can be compared to those of a country club, and that all
persons in prison claim they are innocent.  All suppositions are false.

And so, while relief agencies have little difficulty raising dollars and soliciting help, INNOCENT and many similar
organizations that dare to tread on unpopular paths continue to struggle.

Last year, one in every 138 U.S. residents was behind bars.  The total number of citizens in this country held under
either prison, jail, community-based programs, parole or probation was around 6.5 million!

The mission of INNOCENT and many other similar organizations may not be as popular, but it is certainly as
important.  When determining how to disseminate your funds to 501c3 organizations, please remember those of us
who are trying to heed the biblical admonition to remember those in prison as if you were their fellow prisoners, and
those who are mistreated as if you yourselves were suffering.  (Hebrews 13:3)

Doug Tjapkes
20 W. Muskegon Avenue
Muskegon, MI 49440

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