This episode features two conversations with people involved in the hospice program within the state prison in Warren, Maine. First we speak with the program’s founder, Kandyce Powell, executive director of the Maine Hospice Council. Kandyce talks about the genesis of the prison’s hospice program, her motivation for starting it, and the difference it has made in the lives of the men who die in prison, as well in the lives of the prisoners who volunteer to provide them care. In the second half of the episode we hear from one of those inmates, Bobby Payzant, who has been part of the program for more than two years. He talks about why he is incarcerated, and how he became interested in joining the hospice program. He also reveals that the hospice volunteers have formed a band called The Sounds of Comfort, and we close the episode with one of their songs.
A conversation with public defender Michael Lepie about the his work with indigent clients, and why he considers criminal defense to be a civil rights issue. He discusses how he tries to seek outcomes for his clients which won’t completely derail their lives, and the obstacles within the legal system that often make this difficult. He also discusses the challenges of defending those with mental illnesses, and which aspects of the criminal justice system he thinks are most in need of reform.
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.