This week’s show revisits my 2014 interview with Bobby Payzant, an inmate at the Maine State Prison. We discuss the crime for which he is serving time, and his work as a hospice volunteer, giving care to inmates dying in prison. Bobby’s insights about the power of presence and open-hearted caregiving upended my notions of what it would be like to talk to someone convicted of a violent crime, and challenge the stigma our society places upon those with criminal records.
This week we revisit one of the first episodes of Safe Space Radio, a conversation with Canadian broadcaster Neil McKenty about his struggles with depression and alcohol. He describes his depression as the result of a collision between his negative ideas about himself and the smooth front of success he had constructed for the world to see. We talk about how sharing his vulnerability was the pivotal step that helped him gain a new feeling of freedom.
This week’s show concludes our series on incarceration. We speak with Dostoevsky scholar Dr. Robin Feuer Miller about how the classic novel Crime and Punishment is relevant to the experiences of prisoners today, and we hear stories from listeners about how incarceration, and the stigma it carries, have affected their own lives.
This is part two of my conversation with Mike who spent seven years in federal prison. Mike talks about his experiences participating in a group inside the prison called the Jericho Circle which he credits with teaching him emotional literacy and authenticity. Indeed the work he did with the Jericho Circle enabled him to reunite with his son after he was released. Mike now goes back into prison to help lead circles for the men inside, not only to give back, but also because it helps keep him connected to what makes him feel most free.
A conversation with Mike, who spent seven years in a federal prison on a drug conviction. He talks about the circumstances which led to his arrest, including an abusive upbringing and a chemical dependency which began in his mid-teen years. He describes his arrest in a hotel, and the subsequent trial in which the perjury of a key witness caused Mike to receive a much longer sentence than he would have otherwise. He goes on to explain how he eventually accepted this fate, dropping his legal appeal, and why this decision was an important turning point both in his prison sentence and in his life.