~ from the Los Angeles Metropolitan Detention Center, by Dennis Apel

Monday, August 1, 2016

Dear Friends and Family,

It’s been a little while since I have sent something out, so it’s time for a little update. On this past Friday I celebrated, here in prison, my 66th Birthday. It was a good day in that, although I was not able to be with my family and loved ones, I was surrounded by your love and full of gratitude for all of you who have been so supportive during this time. I was also very thankful to be back on my unit after spending two weeks in the Special Housing Unit (the “SHU”). That experience was hard for me, but, again, I felt held in God’s loving hands and your hearts as well.

I want you all to know that I am very aware of all of the love and support you gave me and Tensie and the children during that time. There were an impressively large number of letters and emails written to the institution on my behalf. And I know that Tensie received many calls of support and offers for help. It was truly a time of people coming together and I am both humbled and touched by the outpouring of love. I cannot thank you enough.

As with everything since I have been here, it is important to me to try and point out that whatever I am experiencing, I am not the only one, and that my trials are also experienced by countless others in the prison system. It is so important that we all realize this and do what we can to advocate, not just for our loved ones, but also for all those in our prisons and especially for those who have no voice or don’t have access to the incredible support that I have. The “hole’ is a harsh place and, unfortunately, it is not always applied justly. Guidelines need to be put into place to ensure that no one is unjustly subjected to that environment and that our prison systems are held accountable for that. It’s a matter of acting humanely with one another and we should not be satisfied until we have arranged for the dignity of all people in the system.

I have about a month left on my sentence. I have become aware of so much in these past three months; I know the power of love, the power of community, the flaws in our justice system and the immense gift of having a circle of loved ones to support me. I wish everyone of my fellow inmates had that kind of love shown to them. I know it may not be possible to arrange for that, but it is possible for us all to be aware that prison reform is an important issue and that all of those unseen and unheard people in our prisons are dependent on our advocacy to make the necessary changes. It is the only way we can show love to most of those incarcerated.

So thank you so much. I feel your love and am grateful for your support. I know Tensie and the kids are grateful as well. Love is the answer and love in action is the source of our hope. Thank you for your love in action.

Blessings to you all,