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Advise from Murderers and Lifers imprisoned in the State of Maine!

True Believers:

Again, we sent all of the prisoners we communicate with three requests for advice gathered from various advice columns.  We received advice back from Daniel ‘Prince’ Fortune (M.S.P./serving two life sentences for home invasion,) Michael ‘Dirty’ McQuade (M.S.P./ serving 12 years for murder,) and Arline Lawless (M.C.C./serving 35 years for murder.)

As a counterpoint, we also requested and received advice from two of our law-abiding citizens, Maine writer and social activist Prius Maelstrom, and Maine mystic and holistic life coach Peaceful (Peaceful also comments on the responses from our inmates.)

Ready?  Here we go:

Problem 1: “Person I’m interested in was abusive to his spouses.”

I have become sadly aware that a person that I’m interested in was verbally, emotionally and physically abusive to both of his spouses, one of whom just separated from and divorced him. I got this information independently from each of the women involved and without their knowledge of the other’s report.

I have had a warm but not close social relationship with him, including one or two dinners over the previous five years. But after this all became clear and undeniable, he approached me at a party and attempted to make conversation. I was only able to utter “hi” and turn away, and it was difficult to not share my thoughts with him about his behaviors.

Is this the right response? I will likely see him again in the future at similar events. I also wonder if I should inform the hosts of my certainty about his character. I am unclear on my ethical responsibilities in this matter.

Sincerely, Aware.


Killer Advice:

Danny:

Dear Aware,

Before I answer about your ethical responsibilities I must first ask if you are still interested in this man. I am not asking to be funny or judge I am genuinely curious. It seems to me that this man has some underlying issues with women that clearly need to be resolved. Abuse is NEVER okay and it is my hope that you are aware that this man ha demonstrated a pattern of such behavior. It is extremely unlikely that he would behave differently with you.

I believe that it was difficult for you not to share your thoughts with him that you set up a meeting with him (somewhere public) in which you can have a conversation between the two of you. Is your desire to have a conversation where you tell him what you know about his behaviors and give him the space and opportunity to share his thoughts and feeling about what you have said? It is my belief that this should not be n assault on his character or lack thereof but simply a clearing of he air. It is not your place to judge him for his actions but it might be a good time to tell him why you no longer wish to communicate with him (if that is how you feel.) Remember though, it is not your place to judge (“Let he who without sin cast the first stone.”) We all have done things that we are not proud of and would not like to be questioned about, however if you give him the opportunity you might learn that he knows what he has done is wrong and maybe just maybe he is in counseling or something to correct his behavior.

I do not believe that it is your “ethical responsibility” to tell the hosts of his wrong-doings. First, it is not your story to tell; he has not treated you with anything but respect (and while this does not excuse his horrendously bad decisions in regard to the abuse of his wives) It is not your place to “spread the word.” Also do you know if his ex-wives (his victims) want their horror stories talked about? It would be different if he was dating a women and then I would be the first to suggest letting her know his history, but the host of the party is something different.

(Comment by Peaceful: “Yeah, I’d pretty much agree with that.”)

Michael:

Dear Aware,

Be glad you dodged that bullet. If it were just one ex-spouse’s claims then it might’ve been an exaggeration. But two of them unknowingly confirming the other’s story? There’s definitely something to their stories. I don’t think open confrontation is a good idea. I guarantee he’ll have an elaborate story. Probably about how his ex’s are crazy and he’s the victim. Don’t believe it. These guys can be very convincing.

As far as your ethical responsibilities I advise you exercise caution. Accusing him openly will put you in a conflict of your word against his. So far, as you know, he’s no real threat to anyone outside of a relationship. I at some point you observe him in a new relationship you may want top warn that woman about his potential to be abusive. Maybe go so far as to refer her to the ex-spouses. After that it’s up to her.

As far as social interaction with him, I would say and do as little as possible. Alienate him. I’m reminded of one of my favorite lines from the movie, “the Departed:”

“Treat assholes like mushrooms. Feed ’em shit and keep ’em in the dark.”

(Comment by Peaceful: “Well, I agree with the last part, but why assume somebody’s gonna lie?”)

Arline:

Aware,

As someone who has been on the receiving end of the same situation with pretty much every relationship I have ever been in, yes, you are doing the right thing by turning away from him. But, if you still wish to share your thoughts with him about his behaviors (which, me being the person I am now, I would definitely call him on his shit.) I would make sure that I had a male friend with me just in cast he tried any of his shit. Yes, you should definitely inform the hosts of your certainty about his character so the can’t try to pick up on some other poor defenseless woman. The hosts could not invite said “dickhead” in the future. Anyway, you would know that you have saved some woman from a predator.

(Comment by Peaceful: “Gee.. would you mind repeating that?”)


Prius and Peaceful

Prius Maelstrom:

Dear Aware:

Unfortunately, domestic abuse remains a pretty wide-spread problem, and it obviously strikes a nerve with you. There are things that you can do to attack the problem as a whole, by getting involved with one or more groups currently advocating for change (see https://greatist.com/happiness/stop-domestic-violence-organizations for a good list.) In the above case, it seems as though this person is already leaving quite a documented trail of his past deeds. If the abuse is what provoked the separation and divorce you described, I’m sure that it was brought up and recorded during the proceedings. As far as you know (and you don’t) he’s never been arrested for an assault, or been served with a protection from abuse order.

You also don’t know whether he’s received treatment, had a life-changing event or was visited by three ghosts.

In short, you don’t have enough information about this person, good or bad, to cause you to feel responsible for taking an action. If you still feel the need to do something, then try contacting one of the groups I mentioned previously. It might also be helpful to ask yourself why this situation has triggered such intense feelings within you, and what can you do about that?

Peaceful:

Dear Aware,

I don’t see the point in doing any of that because anyone can change for the better. You don’t put them in a permanent box of being a problem. The guy might possibly be in the process of getting help right now. Who knows?


Problem 2. “One of our guests wet themselves on our sofa.”

We need some advice. Recently we hosted our annual holiday party and invited all of our neighbors and friends. Our invitation stated that the party would run between 5 and 11:30 so our guests could also attend other parties that might be going on at the same time.

As our party was winding down, it was noticed that one of our guests (who had been at a previous party) had wet themselves on our sofa and covered the spot up with throw pillows. We served wine, punch, etc. at our party, but this couple arrived pretty tipsy already. In the future, should we just not invite these neighbors? We are very distressed about this. What do you suggest?

Signed “Oops.”


Killer Advice

Danny:

Dear Oops,

I am not sure why you are so distressed about the incident. While it is definitely disrespectful for them to try to cover up the accident with throw pillows, I do not believe that this rises to the level of not inviting them to any future parties. Since you seem to know which couple made the stain, why don’t you just talk to them? From the way that you have written your question, it is my belief that this is the first time that this has happened. If this is correct then I would advocate giving them a second chance. The fact that they covered it up leads me to believe that they were embarrassed about what happened and that it would not be something that will happen again. However if you are upset simply have a conversation with them. Let them know that you are aware of and upset by their behavior at the partly last year and if it happens again they will not be allowed at your house in the future. I believe that this conversation is not necessary, but if you feel it is, go for it.

(Comment by Peaceful: “Well, if you’re gonna talk about that issue with somebody, you approach them with love and gentleness, and ask them what you can do to help?”)

Michael:

Dear Oops,

I’m a recovering alcoholic myself. And as embarrassing as this is I’ve been the drunk idiot who wet himself on a neighbor’s couch. On behalf of drunken morons everywhere, let me apologize. Some of us have no control over alcohol and in turn we tend to lose control of out other faculties. This is no excuse though..

As for my future comrade in A.A. I would limit their invites to non-drinking events. It’s situations like this that alcoholics share in meetings that express how powerless over alcohol we were.

“My neighbor’s afraid to invite me over because I wet myself on their couch.”

Still, it could’ve been worse. I’ve seen some real nightmare scenarios (watch MTV’s “Ridiculousness” sometime.) I would be a bit more exclusive with my invites for drinking engagements.

(Comment by Peaceful: “Oh yeah, that makes sense.”)

Arline:

Oops,

Now this is just an all-around fucked up situation. First thing I wouldn’t have stated on my invitation that guest who plan on attending your party could also attend other parties where there was going to be drinking, since it was a holiday party to begin with. If people showed up shit-faced or tipsy to begin with I would’ve gone over and talked to them, saying I was worrying about alcohol poisoning or them driving or something, to get them not to drink. Say, let’s go into the kitchen and I’ll make you some coffee or something. It that didn’t work and they continue to drink and end up wetting themselves and then covering it up with a throw pillow and you find it later I would tell them that they need to pay for dry-cleaning and whatever else needs to be done to fix their mistake since they didn’t listen to your advice. And yes, definitely don’t invite them to your parties in the future if they are going to be so immature about something like this then that is not something you need.

(Comment by Peaceful: “Well, that’s a bit of a narrow response, I think.”)


Prius and Peaceful

Prius Maelstrom:

Dear Oops,

Is this a one-time incident, or the most recent of a long line of poor behaviors? Are these good friends? Both of these have a bearing on my answer. If this was just a one-time mishap, and they were tipsy, I can see how in their embarrassment they might go for the pillow trick. If these are your friends, you could easily, even humorously confront them about this. If they are just acquaintances, then why worry about needing to invite them back or confront them. If it’s the last in a long line of screw-ups, and this is your friend, well, your friend has a problem, and you should definitely talk to them about it, perhaps with another common friend. If these are just acquaintances, and you’ve tolerated other things in the realm of couch-pissing previously, well, you need to do some boundary work here.

A friend, with explanations and apologies can get away with soiling the couch once, and acquaintance? Sorry; you only get one shot at the sofa.

:Peaceful:

Dear Oops,

I suggest inviting them over when they are not going to be there for an extended period of time, because maybe they wanted to go to the bathroom and there was two people waiting in line. Some men and women have on-going problems in that area. I mean, what are you gonna do? Go out in the front yard and pee? Especially if you have only one bathroom.

Problem 3. “A sex-only arrangement with an ex?”

What are your thoughts about having a sex-only arrangement with an ex? Most of the women I’ve dated have contacted me after the relationship was over hoping to have “no-strings-attached” sex on a regular basis. I have always refused because I figured it would make it more difficult to move on and to meet someone new.

That said, I’m an attractive guy in my early 30s, and I’d hate to continue to waste my prime sexual years. I’d love to be married and have a family, but I’m struggling to find a woman who is honest, loyal, a good communicator and independent. That leaves me with either having no sex while hoping for a miracle, or a lot of sex with women I don’t really like.

Signed “Confused.”

 


Killer Advice

Danny:

Dear Confused,

The first question that you have to ask yourself is do you really want to have sex with women that you don’t like? If you are an attractive guy in your early 30s then why don’t you just tell some woman from the start that you don’t want to date them, that you’re just looking for sex? Also I wonder where you are meeting these women? Sometimes (when people respond to you in a certain way and the responses/results are the same) it is time to look at the energy reactions that you are putting out. What about you is attracting these women? What vibe are you putting ou that makes women think it’s okay to lie to you? I feel that you are putting too much time and pressure on yourself to “find” this perfect woman, but appears that you are not sure of what you really want. How important is sex to you? Do you want sex with a lot of women you don’t like, or no sex while you wait to find a good woman?

(Comment by Peaceful: “Yeah, I mean, in order to have good sex you have to love the person you’re doing it with.”)

Michael:

Dear confused,

Let me just get this out of the way. From a majority of men who’ve read about your plight let me just say, “OMG!! You poor baby! Your ex’s are calling you for “No-strings-attached” sex? We all wish we had your problems.

That said I understand you’re a traditional romantic. That’s very commendable. Any woman would be lucky to have you. That’s probably what your ex’s realize. They may not be as over you as they’ve convinced themselves they are.

If you’re not in a committed relationship then there is nothing wrong with a booty call. Hone your skills, my friend. If not for yourself then for the rest of us true unfortunates; you owe it to us.

“I got problems.” Sheesh!

As far as a real relationship and children be patient. You’re young, kid. True love will creep up on you when you least expect it and from he weirdest places. Maybe from an ex who claims not to be interested. I’d say good luck but I save that for people with real problems. (Ha, ha!) You’ll be fine, kid.

(Comment by Peaceful: “I have no comment on all that.”)

Arline:

Confused,

Well if you don’t want to have anything to do with your exes as far as a “no-strings-attached” sexual relationship for fear if would be more difficult to move on, I get it. Bit if you look at it this way (or at least I would) they are saying or thinking, “Man I still think your awesome and by having the no-strings-attached rule maybe, just maybe you might want to take them back. You have said you’re an attractive guy in your 30s; then I wouldn’t worry about it. Just know that there is someone that will give you everything you deserve and more. Believer me on this for I know this happens and everyone deserves happiness. You deserve a woman who wants kids and getting married and everything else you have said, but you should also add that someone who will love you with all of your idiosyncrasies and not expect you to change.

(Comment by Peaceful: “Yeah, I kinda like that. People have to have faith that they’re gonna meet the right person. That’s really important, because if you have faith that something’s going to happen, it’s much more likely to.”)


Prius and Peaceful

Prius:

Dear Confused,

For a moment I thought that this might be one of those situations where you brag in the form of asking for advice. But I’m sure I was mistaken.

First, there’s a reason, of course, that these are ex-girlfriends and not current girlfriends, right? And, are there still more women than men in our population, or had there been some sort of girl-killing flu that I’m unaware of?

If you’re the attractive man that you say you are, the only reason to find yourself in such a conundrum is that you’re on some sort of “Gilligan’s Island,” where you can’t leave and there are only so many women, or you’re just lazy.

Peaceful:

Dear Confused,

I’ve never really heard of anyone that was in a really good state of harmony who had multiple partners and multiple commitments. If you want to deal with having uneasiness most of the time, then keep doing what you’re doing.

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[Killer Advice logos by Alyssa Joy Bartlett, 2019]

Kenneth McDonald

I met Kenny McDonald while in Kennebec County for a probation violation (drinking).  Kenny was a sweet guy, child-like in many ways.  We were cellmates for a while and despite a head injury that always allowed me a bottom bunk, I took the top; Kenny had trouble getting up there.  I shared food with him, games of brick-house.

Kenny stabbed his 80 year old mother to death in 2009.  I assumed they’d send him to the State mental hospital, but you know how the insanity defense rides here in the union.

Kenny got sentenced to 30 years.


download (7)I met Micheal ‘Dirty’ McQuade when, after my first trip to Windham Prison, my dear sister placed me in the cheapest, grottiest rooming house in town at the time, Larry “Slum Lord” Fleury’s Edward’s House.  Real sweet guy when I knew him back in ’06, intelligent fellow who seemed to have a big heart.  I lost touch with him when I went back to jail later on that year (probation violation: drinking,) and only heard about his descent into darkness after moving into ‘the Vatikan,’ in the ghetto of East Bayside P-town.

Dirty was addicted to heroin and he and a couple of other fellows decided that the best way to get more heroin was by robbing another addict of his heroin.  The man ended up getting murdered during the caper; Dirty gave evidence against the fellow that supposedly did the actual killing.

Dirty received 12 years.  


download (13).jpgI met Michael ‘Madman’ Pedini at the same time, and in the same cell-block as I met Kenny (as well as Danny Fortune.)  Madman, an enforcer for the Outlaws motorcycle gang killed a member of the rival Hell’s Angels.  He never wrote for the blog.

Pedini did five years and then entered the witness protection program.


arline-lawless-2.jpgI’ve never met Arline Lawless in person, although she’s been trading letters with the Project for a few years now.  Arline (who came from “Beans of Egypt Maine” surroundings murdered her boyfriend, a working fisherman, with a gun, apparently when he told her of his intention of breaking up with her.

Arline was sentenced to thirty-five years.


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Finally, I met Daniel ‘Prince’ Fortune at the same time and in the same cell-block as Kenny and Pedini.  Daniel was a good kid; the first time I’d bumped into him we were all going to court and I was cuffed to him.  Danny told the cop to cuff me to someone else and then explained to me, “there are gonna be cameras out there and you don’t want to be on television next to me.”

Danny was a former sports star (Gardiner Highschool), born in Haiti, adopted into white central Maine.  He suffered a traumatic brain injury in an automobile accident and after that, things got darker.  Drugs.  Danny had stolen a safe from a former State Senator’s home; he’d partied there a lot with the Senator’s son.  The son ended up owing Danny’s foster brother Leo some money for drugs and one night they went to collect.  As it turned out, the son wasn’t home. While Danny waited outside (he was already jammed up due to the safe robbery) Leo ended up attacking the Senator and his young daughter with a machete.

After the pair were arrested, Danny kept quiet.  Leo, sang like addicts usually sing in such situations, blaming Danny to a large degree; he later recanted and took full responsibility for the vicious attack.

Leo got fifty years.  Danny got two concurrent life sentences.


 

“The visitor from outer space made a serious study of Christianity, to learn, if he could, why Christians found it so easy to be cruel. He concluded that at least part of the trouble was slipshod storytelling in the New Testament. He supposed that the intent of the Gospels was to teach people, among other things, to be merciful, even to the lowest of the low.
But the Gospels actually taught this:
Before you kill somebody, make absolutely sure he isn’t well connected. So it goes.”

– Kurt Vonnegut, Slaughterhouse Five

Get it?

Robin Rage

 

The medical treatment program addresses addiction, provides inmates resources after their release

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Image by Arline Lawless, Inmate at the Maine Correctional Center

WINDHAM, Maine — A pilot program offered by the Maine Department of Corrections has been successful thus far in rehabilitating inmates with an opioid use disorder.

Under the MDOC’s Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT) program, inmates with an opioid use disorder that are 90 days from their release date have the opportunity to choose a medication that will help them get off the drugs.

Officials are looking at expanding a pilot program offered by the Maine Department of Corrections to inmates living with an opioid use disorder. (Photo/MDOC)
Officials are looking at expanding a pilot program offered by the Maine Department of Corrections to inmates living with an opioid use disorder. (Photo/MDOC)

WGME reports that since the implementation of the MAT program in May, 60 inmates have enrolled and 40 have graduated. MDOC officials said 100% of the inmates who have graduated from the MAT program are actively participating in drug treatment after their release.

“This is no different that treating a diabetic or a patient with a chronic illness that needs treatment,” Maine DOC Deputy Commissioner Ryan Thornell told WGME. “There’s no reason we should not provide a treatment that we know, evidence tells us, works.”

Right now, the pilot costs $35,000 a month to run at four out of the DOC’s six facilities, according to WGME. Thornell is hopeful that the program will be expanded to two more state facilities by 2020.

“That’s going to take several million dollars to expand like that but this is a priority for the state of Maine,” Thronell told WGME. “I think we’re going to have large support to make that expansion when the time is right.”

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Image by Arline Lawless, convicted murderer currently held at Windham Prison (M.C.C.)

A legislative committee is considering ways to reduce jail populations and increase the likelihood that inmates will find stability and support when they are released.

AUGUSTA — Lawmakers are looking for new approaches to curb costs at the state’s 15 county jails, which continually run in the red despite $95 million a year in county and state funding.

A range of proposals for reducing inmate populations and shortening time spent in the jails is under consideration by the Legislature’s Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee, which met Tuesday with county administrators, sheriffs, mental health and homeless advocates, and others searching for ways to reduce costs and improve outcomes.

The proposals include reducing or eliminating bail amounts for “low and no risk” suspects and providing inmates nearing the ends of their sentences with a better chance at stable housing, health care and work before they are released.

Other options being studied by the committee include adjusting or removing a cap in state law that limits the amount county governments can raise from property taxes to pay for jails.

Rep. Charlotte Warren, D-Hallowell, the House chairwoman of the committee, said a bill she’s sponsored that was held over from 2019 will be the likely main vehicle for proposed law changes.

“I don’t see a big dollar figure,” Warren said. “But I possibly see some shifting of costs.”

The Legislature and the last three governors have wrestled with the problem of what to do about funding county jails, which are under constant financial strain and increasingly housing a population of inmates with complex and overlapping issues that range from substance use disorders to homelessness.

Tuesday’s meeting was the third in a series that is expected to wrap up in December with recommendations for legislation when the full Legislature returns to work in January.

Warren said 80 percent of jail costs are being borne by county property taxpayers, when sometimes those costs should be paid for by the state. State law requires anyone convicted of a crime and sentenced to more than nine months of incarceration to be put in the custody of the state’s Department of Corrections, presumably so they can be housed in a state facility. Warren pointed out that probation violations and the sentences for certain other offenses often are kept just below the nine-month threshold, making the inmate’s incarceration a county expense.

Former governors have wanted to do everything from forcing a merger of the county jails with the state’s Department of Corrections to requiring counties to pay all their own costs if they refuse to merge. A state Board of Corrections created by Democratic Gov. John Baldacci to oversee the entire correctional system was largely dismantled by his successor, Republican Gov. Paul LePage.

Meanwhile, county sheriffs have returned to the Legislature year after year asking for financial help as jails respond to legal requirements to not only safely house inmates, but also to provide them with health care, including medications, counseling and educational programs.

Warren said the goal should be to get a long-term solution that works for all, saves money and produces better results – by making sure more inmates leave jail or prison to never return.

She said the idea of a “state sanctioned inmate” is key to the ongoing discussion about who ultimately pays or how those costs are shared. But the committee also is exploring a host of other solutions to rein in the escalating cost of incarceration for county governments.

While committee members said they don’t want to increase property taxes, they do want to provide county commissions with more local control and flexibility about how they budget and raise funds for their jails.

Cullen Ryan, the executive director of Community Housing of Maine, told the committee Tuesday that one key to reducing recidivism for many who ricochet from jails to homeless shelters to hospitals to jails again is to better ensure stable housing with support programs for those being released at the end of a sentence.

Ryan said the combined public costs of shelter stays, emergency room visits and jail time is far greater than the cost of subsidies for housing that can build stability in a person’s live, help them get access to regular health care and employment.

He said study after study, including those done in Maine, shows the same thing.

“Once folks get housed, that’s when they start to access primary care instead of emergency care, probably much like the folks in this room do,” Ryan said.

Over time, as their shelter and health care needs are stabilized, the overall public costs go down dramatically. “That person, hence, no longer touches jails, police, emergency rooms – all the expensive systems – anymore and they cost less,” Ryan said.

The committee is scheduled to meet again on Nov. 19 and two more times in December before it finishes its work and makes recommendations to the Legislature.

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Write to Arline via:

Maine Correctional Center – Arline Lawless – MDOC #60057

17 Mallison Falls Road – Windham, Maine 04062

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Write to Arline via:

Maine Correctional Center – Arline Lawless – MDOC #60057

17 Mallison Falls Road – Windham, Maine 04062

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Write to Arline via:

Maine Correctional Center – Arline Lawless – MDOC #60057

17 Mallison Falls Road – Windham, Maine o4062

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arline.july.2017Write to Arline via:

Maine Correctional Center – Arline Lawless – MDOC #60057

17 Mallison Falls Road – Windham, Maine 04062

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Write to Arline via:

Maine Correctional Center – Arline Lawless – MDOC #60057

17 Mallison Falls Road – Windham, Maine 04062

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Write to Arline via:

Maine Correctional Center – Arline Lawless – MDOC #60057

17 Mallison Falls Road – Windham, Maine 04062

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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.

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