The incarcerated population on Fort Peck effects everybody. We are all connected to it. If only different choices or opportunities had been available, their worlds would be entirely different. Mothers, fathers, sisters, and brothers are behind bars. They’re away from their family, friends, and society in general. Love Has No Color reaches out to them with a Johnny Cash style concert, Chiropractic and Naturopathic care, books, and care packages of soap, shampoo, deodorant, and more.
The real connection is made with the inmates after you care for them and get to know them. You don’t realize you’re in jail, you’re with people who wish to comfort. Once they get over the ‘why are these people here’ they start to warm up to the group. Inside of the jail you meet some of the nicest people and most are very gracious we came to visit. They tell you about the life they have been sequestered from. Many of them have children at home and are hopeful they will be returning soon.
One thing about inmates is they have keen sense about who’s being judgmental and not genuine, they won’t engage with you. We don’t care about what they’re incarcerated for. We never ask. It’s not our place to judge. It’s our responsibility to help all those who wished to be helped. They also conversely recognize LHNC comes with no agenda and no judgement, we’re only there to help and comfort.
One year in the juvenile detention center, one of the inmates was a girl who had remembered us coming to her classroom and giving her a gift. It was a My Pretty Pony that was pink and purple. She said, with tears in her eyes, that it was the only present she got that Christmas and that it came at the right time as she was having a difficult time at home.
After the Chiropractic and Naturopathic treatments are done, it’s now time for the concert! While the band sets up, we are only separated by a chain link fence. They really feel like they know our group by now and show their gratefulness with dancing, happiness, and enthusiasm. If one of the songs was a train wreck, they have their own polite way of letting us know what we already knew… Don’t Quit Your Day Job.
For a little over an hour, they enjoy some freedom, a vacation away from the drone of their incarceration to have some fun. They start to imagine their lives once they’re released. They remember the good times.
Each one says thank you and means it.