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’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.
A conversation with psychotherapist Sonia about her experience of arrest and imprisonment for possession of firearms and explosives as an anti-Vietnam War activist. In order to get professional licensure, Sonia waited years to get her record sealed, requiring her to keep her past a secret. We talk about what it has been like to live for 40 years with this secret, and the unexpected ways it has shaped her life.
A conversation with Dr. T. Richard Snyder about the inspiring work of restorative justice. This approach brings together the victim, the offender and the community of people affected by a crime in order to find solutions that not only work to repair the damage, but build healing for all the parties involved. Hear how a profoundly different approach to corrections, built on the example of South Africa’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission, actually reduces recidivism and builds community.
This is part two of my conversation with Bobby Payzant, a hospice volunteer and inmate at the Maine State Prison. In this interview Bobby talks more about the deep remorse he feels for the man he assaulted, and how he has had to face himself during the many years he has spent in prison. He describes the decision he made to stop blaming others for his circumstances, and to start taking responsibility for his decisions. He talks about the many ways he is interested in healing, both through victim-offender mediation, but also through working toward a college degree and taking care of the dying. He talks about the importance of all those things that reconnect a prisoner with their own humanity, including being able to attend the wake for their own family members or for fellow prisoners.