Hello and good afternoon… My name is Irvin Hines and I am incarcerated but not locked out at the Columbia River Correctional Institute in NE Portland. It is a minimum security prison that is geared towards the inmate's release, and put together to try and make healthy choices and decisions in our future, compared to the bad choices we made that ultimately landed us here, basically, trying to re-invent us as men to have a safe and successful return back to our perspective communities.
I write you today because on Jan. 22, I organized a charity fundraiser to help the people of the terrible earthquake in Haiti and I was amazed and inspired by the turn out and those that gave event their in a prison setting where every little bit counts and is counted for while being incarcerated. There are approximately 514 inmates here, and we were able to raise $963 and still counting (by the time you receive this letter we will probably have reached a thousand dollars or better in donations.), that was given by all races, all backgrounds -- donations starting from $25 to $100 and more. Me and those that were a part of this were utterly and completely astonished and inspired that in a prison we were able to put all our personal beliefs and disbeliefs to the side and work towards a great cause to help people that are suffering very badly right now.
What I learned and witnessed was sensitivity towards humanity that reaches deeper than us being locked up, but, not locked out… And I personally am continually inspired by the humanitarian effort which everyone was part of. Some inmates make $32 a month or less and work hard to make that, but gave their whole allotment to the people in Haiti. So I write you today to encourage you all at "The Skanner," a newspaper that I and many here have grown up on, to maybe do a paper on this courageous act of good will, and maybe in doing so someone in the community may feel inspired to match our total. If nothing else, maybe other institutions in the Oregon area will get engaged in this same type of charitable act, in their places of incarceration married with one goal in mind: To help the people in Haiti, anything helps and all will go a very long way. So can you please help us get the word out? And maybe someone who can see the good that has come from some of our bad and be inspired to help in anyway they can… Thank you for your time and consideration. God Bless You.
Columbia River Correctional Institution