- Penobscot County Jail Storytelling Project (III)
14” x 18”, acrylic on panel and text, 2021.
TW: Suicide, homicide, and child sexual abuse are mentioned in this story.
Scotty’s story starts in Winterport, Maine where he was born in 1963. When he was four years old, a group of four men who knew his mother molested Scotty. His father was largely absent and when he was home, he physically abused his children. Scotty’s father also taunted the children by feasting on steak and pork chops right in front of them, while the cheaper, less nutritious fare was reserved for the children.
As a young boy, Scotty befriended a man who worked at the airbase in Bangor. He and Scotty grew close and soon Scotty became an unofficial part of the family. When Scotty was older, he often took care of his friend’s daughter. One night, Scotty– at this point a young man of twenty–went out of town. His friend had to work the night shift, so he hired a last-minute babysitter to watch his eight-year-old daughter. At about 5 o’clock in the morning, Scotty dropped by his friend’s place to check up on the girl. When Scotty walked back to her bedroom, he flipped on the lights to find the walls and ceiling spattered with blood. Scotty saw his friend slumped in the corner of the room, with the back of his head blown off. Lying on the bed, he found his friend’s daughter. The night before, the babysitter had invited her boyfriend over. The boyfriend had sedated them both and molested the little girl while she was unconscious. Later, in the hospital, Scotty held his friend’s daughter in his arms as she was dying of an infection. Scotty promised to seek revenge against the man who had taken the lives of his best friend and his friend’s daughter. “I took care of him,” wrote Scotty. He was sentenced to twenty years.
Scotty commented, “When a man come(s) out of prison after twenty years for manslaughter, it’s hard to readjust. I’ve been in and out (of prison) for about 40 years, not being able to break this routine of violating probation or catching new charges due to my lack of resources and help.” Twice, he attempted to enroll in a re-entry program in Belfast, but he was turned down both times. It disappointed Scotty how many social workers failed to meet his needs and got his hopes up with false promises.
Scotty is still advocating for himself and in search of housing. He hopes eventually to relocate to somewhere with a broader future. He was interviewed by Zeraph Dylan Moore while incarcerated in Penobscot County Jail and dictated his letters via a fellow inmate. In the days leading up to his discharge, Scotty experienced “fits of panic about being released with no solid plan in place.” With diabetes, thyroid problems, depression, and PTSD and taking a daily course of prescription medication, Scotty knows that neither the streets nor jail are places that he can begin to put his life together.
Interview/Editing by Zeraph Dylan Moore.
The Penobscot Jail Storytelling Project is a community-based, multidisciplinary project raising up the voices and priorities of people who have been jailed in Penobscot County, Maine. We are currently a team of 13 interviewers, transcribers, artists, organizers and advisors under the umbrella of community group No Penobscot County Jail Expansion. Learn more here.
Portrait artist Lizzy Schule, a Martha’s Vineyard painter, is a part-time art teacher and full-time English as a Second Language teacher who hopes that this project will jump-start more community-based efforts to keep people out of jail.