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Correctional Corruption

Posted by Rage in the new Political Prisoner Blog:

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 hadcommitted 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 – 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:

– Rage

Originally posted at



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 Tad Fellows. I am an inmate at the MCC in Windham.

My story starts back in the summer of 2008. Around July or August of 2008, my girlfriend and I lost our home, and jobs. Although I got a job Wal-Mart shortly after, we lost our trailer. We were unable to find another home. We were forced to live with other family members in the area. On the 13th of March 2009, I lost my job at Wal-Mart, and a week later, my family. And I got kicked out of my mother’s house.

Now we were forced again to find new living arrangements, and this time I betrayed my mother and stole something from her in order to pawn it and get money. I did my time for that crime, although it never would have come to that point if I were still working.

Since March 13, 2009, I have not had a single job in the state or anywhere else. I looked everywhere, every week, from Newport, ME to Augusta, ME every store and every place that might hire me was checked on a weekly basis. All my efforts seem to fail me. I even went to work agencies with no luck as well.

I robbed two stores to take care of my girl and our three kids so that we would not go hungry or cold and so that our new born would have the necessities he needed. None of what I took went to drugs or anything of that nature. It all went to the necessities of living. The first store I robbed, I got about $900 and it lasted 3 months. The second store I got $200 and that lasted 1 month to support ourselves and our kids.

Our justice system deemed it necessary to give me a sentences of 8 years all but 30 months (2 and a half years) suspended, with 3 years probation!

My girl just found out that she is pregnant again with our fourth child, and I will be locked up for a lot of it…

How is that right in the eyes of society?

– Tad Fellows
MDOC# 71591
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.

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