Thursday, March 20, 2008


Have you heard the one about the guy in a minimum security prison, 11 months left in his sentence, whose 10 year-old daughter is dying of brain cancer? No? Read on.

She can't speak. She can barely move. By all accounts, she is going to die. Her father has been allowed to see her less than a handful of times since she was pronounced 'terminal'. Each time, the little girl has had a remarkable upswing in her condition, and the doctors attribute it to the presence of her daddy. The little girl's relatives think she is remaining alive so that she can see her daddy, feel his arms around her one last time.

But the Federal Bureau of Prisons says 'Too bad about your little brain issue. Pops ain't coming.' That is not exactly what they said. The reason for not transferring the dad to a work camp about an hour from where the child is located, is that "although Mr. Yaeger believes his daughter's severe medical condition constitutes 'extraordinary justification,' a review of his case reveals this specific request was … reviewed … and denied … because his circumstances were not deemed to rise to the level of extraordinary."

What is not extraordinary about the will to live? What is not extraordinary about a child whose dying wish, the only thing left in the world that she wants, is to see her daddy?

Nothing, I guess. Apparently the will to stay alive until the strongest arms she knows enfold her, is common; holding off death, or pleading with Jesus to let her stay until her daddy gets there, is something that others schedule into their calendars.

My heart breaks for this baby and her family. This man knows what he did was wrong. He's not asking for his sentence to be cut short. He wants to be with his baby when she dies. He wants to be there for his wife and other daughter. It's not as if he is asking to go home to get laid so that he can make it for the last 11 months of his sentence. His child is dying.

My heart breaks for our country. Where is the dignity for this American family? Where is the kindness? There's nothing about this situation that is honorable. What can be achieved by keeping this man on the grounds of a facility with a fence so low he can step over it, hours and hours away from his baby? Why not move him?

I know why. You know why. It's because the Federal Bureau of Prisons doesn't care about the inmates. None of the prisons care about the inmates. They're not really people, they are items, objects to be shuffled around, taught, rehabilitated. There is a serious lack of hope in prisons. Ever met a person who has worked there? The guards, especially, are not the kind of people I seek out for dinner parties. I will admit, I read this article with a pre-decided opinion of the prison system. And also, not every jail or prison employee is a bigfat hater. It would be really stupid to say so. That being said, I believe that on the whole, prisons are big black holes.

But there is no prison as black as the one Mr. Yaeger is going to live in for the rest of his life, knowing that paying his debt to society kept him from saying goodbye to his child.

Pray for this family. They need to feel the arms of the Father around them as they watch their baby die. Pray for the little girl. Her name is Jayci. Pray that she knows that there's a Heavenly Father to welcome her to heaven. And pray for the Bureau of Prisons and the person in charge of denying Jayci her dying wish.

1 comment:

  1. Oy,
    The whole thing is a travesty of justice. The article says that the father is in jail on a drug charge. At a minimum security prison he is probably there for his own use, Why are we incarcerating people with diseases anyway? This is horrible. Maybe the media coverage will encourage a change of heart.


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