Patrick O’Neill, Gratitude, August 18, 2021

Hello Friends,

As my transfer date gets closer (Mary picks me up at Elkton August 24 around 9 a.m.) I want to thank all of you who have so kindly supported me and sent prayers of Love for Mary and me and our family over the last 7-plus months. I won’t say this has been easy, but I’m blessed to have had this opportunity to see how oppressive the prison industrial complex has become. I have been able to walk a few miles in the shoes of men who have been here for more than a decade, and others who have more than decade to go. It is hard to imagine spending thousands of days in this miserable place. I stand in awe of the men imprisoned here who are able to keep their hopes alive even under very harsh circumstances. The sentences here are brutally long, most often for nonviolent offenses.

The prison system is a total failure, and it needs to be abolished in lieu of something more humane and rehabilitative. There is plenty of money for punishment in this system, but little for programs of human uplift. The captives or “offenders” as we are called in the mass media (including NPR), are most often held in contempt by staff. Many of the men here are in need of mental health care instead of prison. The conditions we have lived under during the Covid-19 lockdown have contributed even more to the stress and oppression of incarceration. There needs to be some checks and balances so problems are uncovered and changes made.

This is a problem with deep roots in our culture, and it should have been addressed long ago. We all should work on this in the months ahead. Stay in touch with me, and we’ll get to work.

Thanks again My Good Friends.

Peace and Love and Blessings,


Patrick making the ASL sign for “I love you” after a recent sweaty run.

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