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I’m currently incarcerated at the Windham Maine Correctional Center, doing 17 months for violating probation on a conviction of OUI which occurred in 2004. I suffer from a mental illness, addiction and residuals from a traumatic brain injury. Here’s my groove on Corrections in the State of Maine:

While Incarcerated at Kennebec County Correctional Facility in January of 2009, I pulled one of my best friends from a shower where he had committed suicide by hanging. Arthur Brian Traweek was a co-founder of the Holistic Recovery Project, and suffered from a mental illness. We were both successful graduates of the Kennebec county Co-Occurring Disorders Court Program.

Brian was only serving a 6 month sentence, but he’d been threatening suicide since his incarceration in November. While hanging from a sheet in the shower, an officer, Herreva went through our block for a check and actuallyopened the door to the shower room & seemed to look inside. (Apparently not.) After we pulled Brian out of the shower and alerted the guards, it was perhaps 8 minutes before they began performing mouth to mouth resuscitation on Brian. Why? No one could find a “separator:” a 25 cent plastic piece which rests between a victims lips and a rescuers (to prevent infection?) When they arrived, they said that he’d had a pulse. 8 minutes. Now he’s dead.

Brian had tried to commit suicide before, but with his particular illness most successful suicides are actual accidental. Brian counted on the jail to protect him. (To read the full deposition on Brian’s wrongful death, written only hours after the tragedy – click here).

What happened? There was an official police investigation. Nothing came of it. Maine State Civil Liberties Union promised to look into it, but never did.

Carol Caruthers of NAMI did stage a vigil, a candlelight vigil for Brian, right outside our window at the jail. It was attended by people who’d never visited Brian while he was alive. Neither would any of the crowd be visiting any of us who survived. We were treated to a crowd of candle-holding strangers, drinking coffee (which we couldn’t) and smoking cigarettes (which we couldn’t.)

As a fellow inmate said: “Who are these people? Brian never got any visitors when he was alive! Coffee and cigarettes? Why don’t they strippers out there too & call it good?!”

This was while we all faced showering in the same shower my friend had just hung himself in.

I have to throw in a special shout out to Carol Caruthers, who organized the worthless vigil – oh, made the paper, though, didn’t it, Carol? Carol, the executive Director of NAMI, Maine – National Association of Mentally Ill? NAMI did nothing. NAMI didn’t give a fuck. We even asked Carol over & over again to help re-open the investigation! “Please, Carol, Please!! Help us!! Read NAMI’s own reports on those of us with mental illness & addiction, killing ourselves in jail! Help us Carol!”

Carol & NAMI do not care. But they did have that nifty candlelight vigil!

Fuck you, Carol. Fuck you, NAMI.

Brian’s dead.

How many more of us will die, Carol?

Just keep cashing your checks, love.

In the System’s defense – did they ask to become, as Sheriff Randal Liberty so aptly put it recently, “the number one provider of mental health services in Maine?” No, they did not. Jails are for what? Punishment. As Bo Lozoff says, jail is “intended to punish them, pure & simple – to punish, hurt, confuse, emasculate, and eventually break their contrary spirits.” Or, as a friend of mine from Texas said to me before my most recent arrest, “Y’all got only a little over a million people in your whole one-syllable state –  how can your prisons be over-crowded?”

Jails were never designed to treat those of us with serious mental illness or addiction, any more than they were meant to treat cancer or leprosy.

What can we do to change things?

What can you do? Please – get involved. Nothing happens from within, and I guarantee you – all of the powers that be know the truth about Brian’s death, but no one will do anything to change the status quo unless we the people demand it. Call your legislator, your governor – call Carol – at NAMI, Maine. Ask her what time it is. Join the Holistic Recovery Project at http://holistix.atspace.com/wholeness.htm – we have a mailing list there too.

They incarcerate the mentally ill & the addicted, then they release them – untreated – back into your neighborhood.

If the powers that be lived in your neighborhood, perhaps more of us would be sent to rehabs & psychiatric hospitals. Perhaps there’d be money for those programs.

Only you can make it happen.

Please do. Because I guarantee – right now – some twenty-something is sitting in a cell & he’s coming off of opiates & his mental illness is causing him to believe that there’s only one way out.

– Rage

Interesting Collect Calls I've Made From Prison by Rage

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January 29, 1996| From Associated Press

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WATERVILLE, Maine — Four nuns were beaten and stabbed after a prayer service in their convent, and a man who allegedly bludgeoned at least one of them with a religious statue was in custody.

Two of the nuns died and the other two were hospitalized Sunday.

Police did not know a motive for the attacks Saturday night at the convent of the Servants of the Blessed Sacrament, according to Stephen McCausland of the state Public Safety Department.

The Roman Catholic nuns had finished an evening prayer service when the intruder smashed the glass on a locked door, opened it and walked inside. One of the women was attacked in the chapel and the other three in an adjacent part of the convent.

Mark A. Bechard, 37, of Waterville, who had a history of mental problems, surrendered without resistance when police arrived.

The officers “took Mr. Bechard off one nun he was beating,” said Police Chief John Morris. Bechard was using a religious statue to beat the woman, police said.

Morris said that Bechard was known to the nuns and had worshiped in their chapel.

The convent’s five other nuns were in seclusion and did not answer calls Sunday. A sign taped to the inside of the locked chapel door said: “Chapel closed except for Mass. Pray for us.”

Mother Superior Edna Mary Cardozo, 68, died of head injuries Saturday at a hospital in Augusta. Sister Mary Julien Fortin, 67, died early Sunday of multiple stab wounds to the face and head, a hospital spokeswoman said.

Sister Mary Anna DiGiacomo, 72, was in serious condition early today, and Sister Patricia Keane, 68, was in good condition.

Bechard was charged with one count of murder. Other charges are expected to be filed this week. He is being held without bail.

 

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There’s a heavy weight that becomes heavy in the silence.

It comes from the absence of me and the discernment from around the room.

Here it goes.  The pairing of new things together.

The matching game.

Coffee avalanche stare from a bleak overture of some sun in the face of a grandkid I maybe once had.

How you do.  And get through lovingly on the back of a female dragon.

Toothless bandit, holding air in his hands asking me, “What can I do?”

Lumberjack wack!

Well, I’ll be… you old drunk I love you, you cocksucking son of a bitch whore bastard.

As I am,

As I will be today

As I will live each day

fully.

– ~ G.Raff

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Dear Future Self,

May you please always remember to be kind and grateful, and always be spontaneous and responsible; let your duties be your first priority.

Duties:

Stay vigilant and on course, bringing a solid blessing of unconditional love.

Let go of all that you need to bring you closer to God.

Let your channel be open to Healing Light.

Be aware and keep dreaming up new ideas into reality.

Be faithful to love from the Heavens.

Take time to work things out, never rush.

Always be still and wait for the right response.

~ G.Raff

g.raff1

Setting boundaries…

Grounded in reality.

 

Smoking weed creates bad Karma for me,

Because I end up in patterns,

Magnetic pull to darker matter that i’d rather not get into,

Uncomfortability.

 

Nature walks, meditation, writing, reacting,

Drawing, exercising, drinking water, praying daily,

Giving thanks, being in the present moment,

Not attaching to concepts,

But observing rationally what they represent to the the bigger picture.

Medication, structured living environment,

Positive Decisions,

PRCC, AA meetings, African Museum, and Isaac.

 

Rage.

 

I want to be a productive member of this community.

Love and Rockets,

Maggie

g.raff1

Dearest people,

It is well in this psychiatric facility.  If feels like a poopy diaper and a petri dish.  I realize that the darker I get about food old childhood says, the more comfortable I become and happily balanced between love and surrender.  Essentially, my life was a pretty good one.  And then it went to shit, and I love myself for it.  I can be both crazy and abiding and still love the life I hate.  That’s just my little spew I’e been doing for as long as my first memories.  Cracking my neck finally.

I just feel stoned by my grittiest thoughts making me fall into the leaf–covered traps.  I”m on and off between my true feeling and the realest of reality feelings.  I can’t come to grips with it.  Help me from having myself like that childhood weird tongue-ly taste buds would perturb that stroke of genius.  I hate feeling that cloud of power, and I think I might like Gary Jules right now.

Love, Maggie

She thought slowly,

between what two things amazed her at the moment –

the beauty of the ocean of loving, calm commotion,

and now the moon.

  • Maggie

Dear Circles,

Things have been good here.  I’ve been writing and making artwork like crazy.  The only thing is I feel really fat and I need to get my exercise some way.  Hopefully I get out of here and lose it quickly.

Hope everyone is well.  Btw, check out the book called “Conversations with God” that I’m reading.  Hope it piques your interest.

Love,

Maggie

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Political Prisoners

Welcome to the blog from inmates of Maine's jails and prisons.

In collaboration with the Holistic Recovery Project, the Political Prisoners Blog provides a prisoner's view into what's happening at Maine's correctional facilities.

Only your vigilance on the outside can guarrentee that justice goes on on the inside.

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