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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.”

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The Maine Department of Corrections has intercepted more Suboxone sublingual film — thin strips of a prescription drug that are easy to hide and can be dissolved on the tongue — than any other contraband smuggled into Maine jails.

Research by Portland-based CBS affiliate WGME’s investigative reporter Marissa Bodnar found that inmates are regularly trying to sneak in and abuse the drug, which can be prescribed as a treatment for opioid addiction.

Cumberland County Sheriff Kevin Joyce told WGME Suboxone strips have been found in between sheets of cardboard and in the folds of envelopes. Attempts to smuggle in drugs also have prompted the jail to limit contact between inmates and visitors, leaving inmates to see loved ones from behind a sheet of glass.

“We’ve banned cards from coming in,” Joyce said. “We take photocopies of greeting cards.”

Suboxone is a branded prescription drug that includes the active ingredients buprenorphine and naloxone.

Addiction treatment specialists have said Suboxone can be an effective medication to help those battling addiction to heroin and other opiates and opioids, if used correctly.

Dr. Mark Publicker, a longtime Maine addiction specialist, told WGME that inmates should have regular access to medication and therapy.

“Any of the [federally] approved medications should be used,” he said. “We need to develop systems [to create better access to addiction treatment for inmates] and understand, right now at any given time, the figure is over 80,000 prisoners in state and federal levels have opiate addiction and are not being treated.”

Bodnar found that, in addition to the Suboxone strips, heroin, marijuana, methadone, Oxycodone and tobacco, among other contraband items, have been confiscated by corrections officials in Maine jails.

Lethal Dose Haiku

I’ve been a little depressed as of late, myself.  You know how guys in jail can get.  I had some guy tell me I should have killed myself after Zina, “She went out gangsta.”

I was thinking, “Yeah, and she left our son and me here.”  as I walked away.  This guy is obviously not the brightest bulb in the box.  Still, it left me angry at Zina again.

Once guy tried to convince me she may still be alive, “You don’t know.  She could be in protective custody.”  I  swear.  I’m surrounded by lawyers and psychologists in here.  Luckily, I”m a little too bright to fall for this shit.

Still… my grieving for Zina is a manic call back.  some days, I’m fine.  Other days it’s a relentless roller coaster.

Just when I had given up on talking to anyone, I had a guy I didn’t recognize call me “Dirty.(my tag name.)”  We started talking and I  asked him if he knew Zina.  He said yes, “She was a beautiful girl.”

When he said that all these images of her, the really good times came flooding back.  That’s when I realized that that’s how I want to remember her.. as beautiful.

I can’t tell you why or how I endure this.  I do believe there’s a reason I’m still alive.  I don’t know why, but I plan on finding out.

I’d enjoy mail from anyone.  My address is:

Michael McQuade / Somerset County Jail / 132 East Madison Road / Madison, Maine 04950.

Tell everyone that I said “hi!”

God bless,

Dirty

Dirty

 

Hey,

Sorry my memory is such shit during that particular period of my life.  I was pretty fucked up.  sorry that it’s taken so long to write back.  Kennebec had me on suicide watch til they shipped me here.  A month and a week.  Just over a week in the turtle suit along.  When they shipped me they left all my paperwork and all.  It took a month just to get some of my shit.

I had almost forgotten your letter.  It fell out of my tome of paperwork the other day.  I was glad because I wanted to thank you for your letter.  Only a few people can realize what a piece of mail can mean to someone.  Especially someone with as much shit as I’m going through..

I can’t talk about my case at all Not only because of the severe nature of the case, but also do to the lack of info on the case.  I  don’t know what the fuck is going on.

I’m surprisingly optimistic for a guy facing life. I’m working out, reading, writing.  I”m clean of drugs.  That’s something I really wanted towards the end.  I tried to get into a detox.  There were no beds open at the time.

I don’t really want to get into the whole mess.  It really hurts thinking of Zina and our son, Loki.  He’s fine which is something, I guess.

I really wanted you to know that I appreciated that letter.  I thank you for your prayers.  You’re in mine as well.  If I ever get outta this place, I’ll give you a ring.

Again, thanks,

Dirty

Dirty

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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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