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Incarceration in the United States is the main form of punishment for the commission of a crime. The United States has the largest prison population in the world, and the second-highest per-capita incarceration rate, behind Seychelles (a tiny island country off the coast of East Africa, which in 2014 had a total prison population of 735 out of a population of around 92,000). 

In 2013 in the US, there were 698 adults incarcerated per 100,000 population, with (According to the US Bureau of Justice Statistics ) 2,220,300 adults incarcerated in US federal and state prisons, and county jails.  That’s one out of every 110 citizens of the United States, or  about 0.91% of our adult population.  That’s not counting the 4,751,400 adults in 2013 (1 in 51) on probation or on parole!  In total, 6,899,000 adults were under correctional supervision (probation, parole, jail, or prison) in 2013 – about 2.8% of the adults (1 in 35) in the U.S. 

Oh, almost forgot: there were also 54,148 juveniles in jail (“juvenile detention”) in 2013.

According to a 2014 Human Rights Watch report, “tough-on-crime” laws adopted since the 1980s, most especially Bill Clinton’s Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994 (the largest crime bill in the history of the United States and consisted of 356 pages that provided for 100,000 new police officers, $9.7 billion in funding for prisons and $6.1 billion in funding for prevention programs, which were designed with significant input from experienced police officers) have filled U.S. prisons with mostly nonviolent offenders. This insane policy has completely failed to rehabilitate prisoners and many are worse on release than before incarceration.

Rehabilitation programs for offenders can be more cost effective than prison.  According to a 2016 analysis of federal data by the U.S. Education Department, state and local spending on incarceration has grown three times as much as spending on public education since 1980.

Why? Watch the Netflix documentary “13.”

aaa

Body camera video produced Wednesday appears to show a Baltimore police officer plant drugs in late January, an act that later resulted in a criminal arrest.

The 90-second Baltimore police body camera video, which was made public by the Maryland Office of the Public Defender, belongs to Officer Richard Pinheiro, who appears to hide and later “find” drugs among trash strewn on a plot next to a Baltimore residence. Two other officers appear to be with the Pinheiro as he hides the drugs.

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 Body Camera Shows Baltimore Police Officer Allegedly Planting Evidence 1:53

“I’m gonna go check here,” Pinheiro announces in the video from a morning in late January. He then picks up a can in which he placed a plastic bag of pills earlier in the video and retrieves them.

“This is a serious allegation of police misconduct,” Baltimore Police Commissioner Kevin Davis said. “There is nothing that deteriorates the trust of any community more than thinking for one second that police officers … would plant evidence of crimes on citizens.”

One of the officers has been suspended, and two others have been placed on “nonpublic contact” administrative duty, Davis told reporters.

Police said the Office of Professional Responsibility Ethics Section was investigating.

Pinheiro is a witness in about 53 active cases, and he was even called to testify in a case earlier this week, the Public Defender’s Office said.

The new video has led to that case’s dismissal after an assistant public defender forwarded it to the Baltimore City State’s Attorney’s Office, according to the Public Defender’s Office.

Melba Saunders, a spokeswoman for the Baltimore City State’s Attorney’s Office, said the prosecutor took “immediate and appropriate actions” and dropped the case against the man who was charged.

“Currently, this case is under investigation and has been referred to internal affairs of the Baltimore Police Department,” she added.

Debbie Katz Levi, head of the Baltimore Public Defender’s Special Litigation Section, said that Baltimore police have long had a problem with officer misconduct but that the city does not hold individuals accountable.

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 Public Defender Says Bodycam Shows Baltimore Cop Planting Drugs 2:31

“We have long supported the use of police body cameras to help identify police misconduct, but such footage is meaningless if prosecutors continue to rely on these officers, especially if they do so without disclosing their bad acts,” Levi said.

Police played four other videos for the media on Wednesday afternoon to provide additional context.

In the first two videos, officers procure two gel capsules of heroin. The third video has officers approaching the alleged seller of the heroin and shows them arresting the man on whom they found marijuana and a gel capsule of heroin, police said.

In the fourth video, officers undertake an extensive search of a yard identified by the dealer for more drugs. Police said they recovered a plastic bag with 25 gel capsules of heroin.

Davis and Deputy Police Commissioner Jason Johnson suggested that it implied that they were re-enacting the recovery of drugs for the body camera — which is also inappropriate, Davis said.

“The release of [this body camera video] tells me and hopefully [the public] that there was a little more to this,” Davis told reporters.

Johnson and Davis told reporters that there was a four- to five-minute gap in the video.

According to police policy, officers are required to record all activities that are “investigative or enforcement in nature.”

The Office of Community Oriented Policing Services, a component of the U.S. Justice Department, concluded in a 296-page report that there is not enough research to understand the impact of body cameras but that “the ultimate purpose of these cameras should be to help officers protect and serve the people in their communities.”

Davis said the department would get to the bottom of the matter because he fears the effect it would have on the community.

“Perception is reality,” Davis said. “If our community thinks that there are officers planting evidence in the course of their duty, that is something that will keep me up at night.”

As spring rapidly approaches, I once again find myself in the mood for a good spring-cleaning.  However, inasmuch as I am a guest a the “Little Hilton on the Hill” (M.C.C.) and have little to clean of my own, I have decided to do spring cleaning for others.  Yep, ol’ Bob Wire has decided to clean the skeletons out of the closet of M.C.C.  Further, in the tradition of the great gossip columnists I will clean out the closet in the form of “Ask Bob Wire” (I am, after all, a man-in-the-know, here at the Hilton.)

Disclaimer:  I cannot say with 1000% certainty that what follows is actually true, but this I can say:  a rumor is not a rumor that will not die!

Dear Bob Wire:  Is it true that a female C.O. here at M.C.C. made a sex video for the Internet off her getting the shit fucked out of her by a dog? Sincerely, Inmate X

Dear Inmate X:  That rumor is patently FALSE… it was vaginal sex.

Dear Bob W:  I was told that there was an inmate in here who actually once saw a female C.O. do a strip act at Pure Platinum in Portland.  Is there any truth to that rumor?  Thanks, Inmate Y.

Dear Y: That rumor is false!  All one has to do is look at the C.O. in question to know that can’t be true, for the C.O. is less than 300lbs and has her teeth.  What kind of strip act would that be?  Duh!

Dear Bob Wire:  Is there any truth to the rumor that in 2007 a staff member here was caught with child porn on their computer?  Thanks, Inmate Geek.

Dear Geek:  It is true!  But, in the defense of the individual involved the pictures were rumored not to be for him, but for a calendar in a couple of dorms here at M.C.C.  Good question.  Keep sending them.

Dear BW:  Is it true that from time to time that C.O.’s   h  ave been inclined to bang female inmates at M.C.C.?  Thanks again, Bob Enzyte.

Dear Chubby:  That is a very good question indeed.  Yes!  In 2007, a couple of C.O.s were fired for having sex with female inmates.  It is a fetish sweeping the nation.  It’s called captive sex!

Dear Bob:  Is it true that one time a member of the medical staff was fired for possession of cocaine and other narcotics while on duty?  Thank you, Ted Blow

Dear TB: Yes!  2007 was a very good year for C.O.’s thinking they are “all that” and above everybody else.  Ooooops!!

Dear BW:  Who is watching the watchers here at M.C.C.?  John

Dear John:  Beats the shit out of me!  I guess there are things that even the gods cannot understand!

Well, that is it for this months “Ask Bob Wire.”  Keep the questions coming, because if ol’ Bob here can’t find out (or make up) the good answers, nobody can!

Readers of my blogging often write me and say (actually, they write these things, not say them, just for the record) things like: “Bob Wire you’re a pretty negative dude.”  Yet others write “Who stuck a stick up your ass to get you so pissed off at M.C.C.?”  Still others write:  “Bob, I could so do you in the ass right now!”  Okay, okay, the last one I made up, but it is lonely here!  However the point is this: people think I am a negative kind of guy!!

HELLO!!!  ME??? NEGATIVE???

Okay, I can be a bit negative, but I also have a positive side.  To show the world the wonderfully positive Bob Wire, I will expose Super Positive Bob to the blogging world.  I am going to make Norman Vincent Peale look like a prophet of doom.  To expose my positive outlook in the blogging world I thought I might offer MCC suggestions for the better operation of the facility.  Pissing and moaning aside, Here I Go!

To the medical department:  read the labels on the inmate’s prescription cards.  I think you will find that they do not prescribe taking the medication at 7:30 am, 10:30 am and 10 pm.  see the problem here?  Three fucking hours between the first and second taking and 12 HOURS TIL THE THIRD… Hello!  Is it that hard to give the inmates their meds on a schedule that has the semblance of sanity attached to it?

To the administration:  in an attempt to save money, I suggest the following:  get rid of the C.O.(s) at Sally Port; leave the gates wide open.  What are you afraid of anyway?  That an inmate might escape from one fenced-in area with razor wire to another fenced-in area with razor wire?  The money saved on not having one C.O. could provide bologna sandwiches one day a week at chow…

To the Chow Hall:  Keep you know who (J.R. – dorm 5) last in line at chow.  No one likes his nose dripping all over everything including the food in the salad bar, the tables, the food line… nasty… you guys know his nose drips everywhere; do something about it… fucking nasty.

To the guys that plow snow:  try to put the fucking snow plow down on the ground when plowing.  It is fucking bad enough that we have to walk everywhere improperly dressed for the weather; we should not have to use our sneakers to pack the fucking snow down…

To those in charge of the living quarters:  Stand up to the punks, for God’s sake.  Who is running this shit hole anyway?

Well, that was fun.  I got to be Mr. Positive and if the powers to be are like me (and I would like to think they are), they will take these suggestions to heart and we can all live happier, healthier lives together.

Bob Wire

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What’s going on?  How is everyone?  I know that I told you that I would writ once a month just to let you know that I’m alright and give you guys an update on what’s been going on with me and I haven’t.  I don’t really have any good excuse.  things have been kind of hectic the last couple months and especially the last couple of weeks.  It’s finals time and I just finished writing all of my papers.  Whew – I’m glad that they'[re pretty much over.

So, I’m going to get right to the elephant in the room.  I can’t imagine that you guys are unaware of the court’s decision to deny my appeals and all the news coverage that I’ve been getting in the last couple of months.  Yes, I got shot down but no, it’s not my final appeal.  I don’t know why the DA said that it was my final appeal.  That is far from the truth.  In fact I was thinking about writing to the Kennebec Journal and talking about a lot of information that Betty Adams gave that was incorrect.  I wrote the letter, typed it up and everything and I just haven’t sent it out.  To be honest, I”m a little nervous, every time they put me in the papers or on the news I feel like shit, but at the same time I know that it is something that is needed.  I know, I know, you guys are probably like, “What are you talking about?”  WEll, let me explain.

Right now for all intents and purposes I am a political prisoner.  They, the State and everybody involved know that I should not be doing all this time.

[Editor’s note: Sentencing guidelines in Maine: Manslaughter 1–20 years, Felony Murder (killing someone while in the commission of a crime) 1-30 years, and for regular ol’ Murder, it’s Life without parole or no less than 25 years. Snax.]

They know that I should get re-sentenced at the very least and really should get a new trial, but as long as public opinion is on their side and there is nothing making them fix the situation, they won’t.  Look and what happened with my man Tony Sanbourn.  He did 27 years and they know that he didn’t do it.  It took his girl staying on them to make them admit that the witness had lied and look at the rest of the shit that is coming to light.  for me, I don’t have that right now; I don’t have a “someone.”.  They can trash me in the newspapers and on the news and it is what it is.  But, at the same time I know that I have people who believe in me out there and the more time that goes by and the more you see people getting way less time for murder and all that, people will start asking questions.  Like, why is Fortune swerving life sentences for accomplice liability?  Or, when the news reporter says that Leo admitted to the attacks but is doing fifty years.  anyways, though, yes, I am OK. Yes, I was hurt and upset when I heard about it.  Yes, I should have reached out to you guys and let you guys know what was going on , but sometimes it’s hard to explain what it is I’m going through when it is what I’ going through.  I still know that I am coming home but it is not going to be right now.  All I can do is to continue to grow and make the best of my time here.  That means concentrating on school and working every day to be the best me that I can be.

On that note, school is pretty much done for the semester.  Like I mentioned earlier, I just finished writing a sixteen page paper on genocide for my history class.  Genocide is a crazy subject; it’s hard to wrap my mind around wanting to annihilate and entire race, or group of people.  Yet, history is littered with genocides.  The two that I chose to wrote about were the ones in Armenia and Rwanda.  Did you guys know that in Rwanda almost a million people were killed in around 100 days?  That’s crazy and the US did nothing.  The movie “Hotel Rwanda” is base don what happened in 1994.  I have ti watch it again.  As for the Armenian genocide, while Roosevelt was the President, he said that the Armenian genocide was the worst crime of the whole war.

My other class was philosophy.  Yeah, that’s right – I’m now a philosopher.  Haha!  Nah, it was a really good class.  I learned just how much I don’t know.  The best thing I learned was the need to ask questions.  There cannot be a value on one asking questions in order to find ones answers for oneself, not settling for what we are being told.  So what happens when we run into questions that we cannot answer,m or if we are in a situation where it looks or feels hopeless?  For me this is why Allah and hope are the most important things in my life.  Both my life and the history of the world are littered with mistakes and “no-win” situations, but this is only possible because we refuse to stay beaten and accept things the way they are.

Philosophy has taught me that I must continue to search for my answers yet understand that some questions cannot be answered, and a lot of situations are beyond my control.  That does not mean that I must curl up and give up.  With hope and faith I can and will not be broken by any circumstances that I face.  I have the tools to make any situation better and endure.  There is a reason why miracles are so special.  It’s because they are beyond human purview.  They are not meant to be understood or explained.  Yet are miracles possible without faith and hope?

In moments like this I think on the Serenity Prayer: “Lord, give me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference.”  This class has reinforce my faith and hope by making me realize how much I don’t know by extension how much humanity doesn’t know.  It is because of how small my world and life is that I have been reminded just how strong and powerful hope and faith is.

Alright, I’m about to wrap this up.  Know that  you  guys stay on my mind.  If you ever need to vent on paper, or need advice, or if any of you are even considering making a bad choice, please drop me a line first:

M.S.P.                                                                                                                                                          Daniel Fortune, #86753                                                                                                                           807 Cushing Road                                                                                                                                    Warren, Maine 04864-4600

Remember – I believe in y’all.

As I am,

Prince

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Hey, Circle, so how’s it going? What did you guys do memorial weekend? Did you have a good day? I haven’t actually written any poems in a long time.

Have you guys managed to get a Dungeons and Dragons game going yet? As for the weather, I guess it’s going to be warming up.

Well, this June 18th, I shall be tuning fifty years old; I don’t really feel that old. Does tuening fifty mean that I’m a half century old? Did you ever get a hold of a copy of the Golem Plate Spell form the dragonsfoot website, along with a few other spells?

Well, goodnight, and I hope that you guys have a great summer. Don’t get sunburned too much.

Kenneth McDonald

I am the invincible dragon,

who is plated with gold sheets,

and red rubies,

and a breath of fiery hearts.

I feel my challenges in full force and with empty mind.

I must be falling in love with every moment of my life.

Why?

Because I am positive of it.

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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.

If you'd like to contact one of our inmate bloggers, send us an email.

Thanks for reading, and thanks for your support.