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Prison Reform: Inside Looking Out

Updated: Jun 16, 2023

Artist Elizabeth Mikotowicz was nearly beaten to death while being pregnant. She became addicted to pain killer drugs and eventually was sent to prison where she was regularly humiliated and treated as a slave.

Elizabeth served more than four years in Maine jails and then the federal prison in Danbury on a variety of drug charges. On the podcast, "Inside Looking Out," Elizabeth reveals how she was mistreated by guards, both male and female, forced to stand naked for the guard's cameras, and how female inmates were unable to obtain even basic sanitary products, resulting in many experiencing infections from the tampons they tried to make themselves.

She says that after Donald Trump became president many women, both immigrants and American citizens, underwent forced sterilizations and other inhumane treatment.

Now, she's working to expose corruption and cruelty that she experienced in America’s prison system, even as she’s launched an environmentlly friendly clothing brand using art that she created while being incarcerated. In fact, Elizabeth went from painting murals as a federal inmate to having her own environmentally friendly clothing brand based onthat art.

More importantly, Elizabeth is working with state representatives to get better laws to protect people in vulnerable positions. She describes two laws sthat she initiated and helped get passed in Maine and that she hopes can be enacted nationwide.

Towards the end of the episode, Elizabeth offers advice to women who are experience domestic violence, experiences that contributed to her drug abuse and the criminal acts that landed her in prison.

Here are some questions we discussed with Elizabeth:

Q. What landed you in prison?

Q. You ended up having two kids with this man…why?

Q. What was it like having to go to prison when you were a mom?

Q. What was it like in prison? Why did you turn to art?

Q. Were there restrictions on your art in prison?

Q. When you got out, what did you do? Were you afraid?

Q. How did your clothing line begin? Where did you get the confidence to do that?

Q. What’s it called? Your brand?

Q. Who makes your products? What makes them environmentally friendly?

Q. Where can people find your stuff?

Q. You’re working with state lawmakers in Maine, right? What laws are you working to change?

Q. What needs to change nationally?

Q. What would you like to tell women who are in abusive domestic situations or are otherwise struggling?

Listen to the podcast:

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