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Hey, Circle!

It’s good to hear from you guys.  Hope that all is well.  I’m doing alright, living the dream, you know?  Waiting on Pre-Trial to get me outta here.  It’s such a slow process, because I was using and I don’t have an address currently.  They’re putting me in a twenty-eight day rehab program on the border of Canada.

I’m having a status conference soon, and if I’m able to get out of here without Pre-trial, I’ll be back at the Preb; Pretrial won’t release me straight to there… but, yeah, I’ll be going to a sober house called “the Farm”  in LImestone, Maine.  Temporarily.  But my dad’s helping me out with an apartment and a car as soon as my court stuff is resolved, hopefully after the 28 day rehab.  I’m hoping that I can plead out at my status conference and get time served, and if not then with probation,  I doubt that, because it’s a class B felony but the jail is at max capacity.  I haven’t been indicted that I know of; my case is all hear-say.  No hard evidence.  They searched my place and didn’t find anything.

Say a prayer: I’ve been here 86 days so far.  Hope to see everyone on the outs; hope to get a place in Portland.

Hope to hear back from you guys soon,

Tom

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I’m Andrew Forbis, MDOC# 11365

I’ve been a member of the NRA since the 1990s, & have received numerous awards from the organization & from Senators Snow & Collins for my work in support of the rights articulated by the second Amendment. I’m a 3-time felon & was busted for my 5th & final probation violation in November of 2009, when my probation officer out of Cumberland County discovered 9 guns at my home. (They belonged to my mother, actually.) So I’m finish off 4 1/2 years here at MCC.

I was actually writing because while on probation I was court-ordered to receive counseling & substance abuse treatment which (with no insurance) was costing me $400 a month. Many kids, most not nearly as evil as me, fail to fulfill that court-ordered demand because they can’t afford to.

Please contact your senators & legislators about the dumb reasons for overcrowding in Maine.

Thank you.

– Andrew Forbis
MDOC# 11365

My name is Otis Johnson and I am currently incarcerated by the Dep. of Corrections in Windham, ME and right now I’m at the York Co. Jail in Alfred. It’s all part of the process to get where I’m going to do the majority of my time which is Charleston Correctional Facility.

The jail gets $110.00 a day and I get food in small portions and it tastes so bad I wouldn’t feed it to my hunting dog. It’s really bad. I’m glad I’m not going to be here long. Some inmates have even gotten food poisoning, and the other night I saw mold on a piece of cornbread! This is a real crisis and someone needs to know about it. We may be inmates and criminals but we are not animals.

I would also like to say Hi, to my friend Lisa Leighton who is the sister of my friend Robert Bartlett, who is in this screwed up Jail with me.

Thanks for listening,

– O. Wayne Johnson

One of my names is Robert James Bartlett, and my Maine Department of Corrections number is 32270. 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 actually opened 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 has a blog: http://holistixrage.wordpress.com/)

Rage

– Robert Bartlett
MDOC# 32270
17 Mallison Falls Rd
Windham, ME 04062

My name is Ghe Grip – MDOC# 5029.

I have been incarcerated 25 times in Kennebec County Jail (Maine) and am workingon completing my 6th state bid (Arson). Not once have I been offered rehab. Every crime I’ve ever committed was while drunk.

The sex offenders here in Maine correctional Center have a special program. They have a pizza party once a month, and get paid to do the program. This place just stopped them from going out to work in the community last year because there was an incident with one involving a child.

Jeffrey Merrill Jr is the son of the ex-Warden of the Maine state prison. Jeff Merrill Jr went from being a janitor / maintenance man at the prison to being the Chief of Security here at MCC.

The correctional system here in Maine is over-crowded, so they rent space from York county jail and have 3 other counties house MDOC inmates. Yet they have about 50 open beds at all times in Dorms 5 & 6. The Maine State Prison has 2 pods that are not in use that hold about 80 people each.

MCC is supposed to cut back on costs, yet they leave the night lights on all day.

MCC medical department takes people off from their meds and gives them something cheaper whenever possible.

Unit manager Jacobson went from being the trash man here in MCC to running Dorms 5 & 6 which house about 112 in each at full capacity.

A building they call “Behind the Wall,” which is security North & South, had been condemned long before my 1st round in ’98. They still use it to this day and pay a yearly fine for doing so.

No one cares.

I have a MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/ghe_grip

– Ghe Grip
MDOC# 5029
17 Mallison Falls Rd
Windham, ME  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.

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

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