Tonight’s musical selection is “The Cops” by K.Flay.
Earlier this month I shared an update from Rachel of Operation PenPal about Mark “Migs” Neiweem. On the Suicide Girls Blog, she gives a lengthy and very personal account of what it’s been like to visit him in jail.
When someone is in prison, every moment is a crisis. Even when a specific problem or situation is resolved, there remains an overwhelming survival mentality, which affects those inside and their supporters alike. I move from crisis to crisis every day; meanwhile the prisoners I am not actively engaged in supporting at any given minute hover in my peripheral vision, imploring they not be forgotten. None are ever forgotten, of course, but the need to prioritize presents me with difficult decisions about how to use my time and resources daily.
I got my first letter from Mark when he was still at Cook County Jail exactly one year ago today – the same day I attempted to visit him for the first time. His tone was friendly, engaging, and funny, but he also came across as angry, frustrated, and obviously in pain. In one line that still haunts me, he suggested that they should execute him and let the other four guys walk. When we tried to see him that day, we discovered he had just been hospitalized after being severely beaten by guards. His hospitalization was followed by five weeks in solitary confinement, where he stayed without visits until after his visible wounds healed.
During those five weeks, I made it my personal mission to make sure he always had mail and someone he could call. I wrote and told him that five guys went in, and I would not rest until all five walked out. Ever since, it has been my utmost priority to make sure the shadowy powers-that-be know we are paying attention to what happens to him. As the good Doctor would say, he is protected.
As it happens, we’ve also become good friends. I very much look forward to the day when I can spend time with him that’s not regulated by the Illinois Department of Corrections.
I encourage you to read the whole thing.
What’s on your mind tonight? The watercooler is an open conversation.
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