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Podcast Episode 3: Pagans & Prisons

“Prisons are designed to be oppressive, and they’re designed to crush the spirit. If there is a way we can go in there and foster spirit to grow, what a powerful, powerful thing that is.”
–Alban Artur

In episode 3, we hear from several members of the Maine Pagan Clergy Association, all of whom work in some capacity with pagans in prison, along with a rant on the subject from our own Dr. Bones.

You can also download an mp3 of the podcast. Audiogeeks might be interested in learning more about how the podcast was recorded.

“I remember the very first time I went into the prison. You go through the front gate which is all barbed wire, which is weird. Then you go through these series of portals, of gates that make these gigantic clanging noises when they lock, it’s really just totally unsettling. By the time you finally get out into the population you’re completely unnerved already.

But then I got out into the main yard, a little nervous of course, and I start looking around. I’m looking at all these guys, looking them in the face, in the eyes. I realized, these are just a bunch of Mainers. These are the guys I grew up with. They’re just people who screwed up, and most of them should not be prison. The fear immediately disappeared.”
–Kevin Emmons

“This is the power of the state elevated to godhood.”
–Dr. Bones

“We’re number one in prisoners.

By every measure the U.S. leads the world in prisoners, with 2.2 million people in jail and more than 4.8 million on parole. No nation tops that – not China with 1.7 million, not Russia with 670,000. We not only have the highest number of prisoners, we have the highest percentage of people in prison or jail. In the U.S., 702 of every 100,000 people were in prison or jail in 2013. Cuba has 510 per 100,000 people in prison, Russia has 467, and Iran has 290.

Black and Latino Americans have been especially hard hit: they form over 39 percent of the prison population. One in every three black men is expected to serve time during their lives (at least under our current criminal justice system). Approximately half of all inmates are there for violating drug prohibition laws.

How is it that America, supposedly the beacon of freedom and democracy for the rest of the world, has more prisoners than any police state?”

— Les Leopold,  Runaway Inequality: An Activist’s Guide to Economic Justice

“If you don’t want to reach out to somebody in prison, work on building the pagan community…. period.”
–Janine Marie

Thanks to Alban Artur, Kevin Emmons, and Janine Marie for their insights and experiences. Thanks to Dr. Bones for the rant. Thanks to the Order Of Maine Druidry for playing the community drum and holding space. Thanks to the weather gods for the rain transitioning into snow. Background music and rhythm programming by James Lindenschmidt.

All sounds recorded, mixed, mastered by James Lindenschmidt for Crafted Recordings. Podcast ©2015 James Lindenschmidt. Some Rights Reserved (CC BY-NC-SA 4.0).

Want to tell your story?

I am actively looking for folks to tell their stories, sing their songs, or contribute other chants & rants for future episodes. If you have an idea you’d like to contribute, please contact me.

7 Comments »

  1. You might find this story interesting on the use of magic and meditation for prison survival including nine years of solitary confinement. Meditation Helped Me Survive Death Row and 19 Years of Wrongful Imprisonment
    Written by Damien Echols

    http://tinyurl.com/nmy3kgg

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  2. Quite interesting. But these drums in the background are distracting sometimes. It would be easier to listen if the music was toned down a little bit.

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    • Thanks for the listening. The music and ambient recordings are intended to be just as much part of the soundscape as the spoken pieces. I think these podcasts are best enjoyed with a good, high quality set of speakers or headphones and undivided attention. That’s one main reason I try to keep the episodes relatively short, so the time commitment isn’t too huge for such listening.

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    • That said, as an audiogeek, fidelity is very important to me. Sometimes I’m not able to record people in person, and I need to include some lo-fi tracks. That can be trickier in terms of maintaining clarity & fidelity. Again, thanks for listening!

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    • Thanks for listening. Yeah, as I wrote above, the spoken word is just one part of the show. There are plenty of podcasts out there were people just talk. This one is designed to be more of a critical listening experience with sonic depth and nuance, mostly inspired by the audio recordings I do (sometimes recording myself playing, sometimes other people, as well as ambient nature recordings). I was glad to hear you started to “get” it by the end of this episode, though…. 🙂

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  3. I’m glad there are people willing to stick their necks out and go into the prisons to provide comfort and wisdom. Keep up the good work.

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