In 1992, entering my 3rd yr in federal prison on a 25-yr sentence, I was bussed along with 200 other prisoners from FCI Ray Brook, Lake Placid, NY, to FCI Schuylkill, PA.
Molly Maguire Memorial
SCH had just opened and its population, eventually to reach over 1200, was being bussed in from a number of other prisons. I was among the first to arrive.
I have a variety of memories from each of the dozen prisons I’ve served in. I recall my cellmate at the time was Seamus Anthony Moley, #27800-004, a Northern Irish prisoner convicted of being an IRA officer procuring Stinger missiles in the US.
One of the strongest memories I have of Schuylkill was a large mural on the wall of the dining room by a gifted prisoner artist. It depicted an historical pictorial of the community of Pottsville, PA.
Seamus (pronounced: Shā-mus) pointed out the Irish significance of the number of tree stumps in the mural. “They represent the number of Molly Maguires that were hung by the coal mine bosses back in 1877,” he said. more…
When FCI Schuylkill, PA, first opened back in ’92, I was one of the first prisoners bused there. I resumed my usual clerk’s job at the prison factory.
- Arbeit Macht Frie
As the prison filled up, a logo design contest was held for the factory. The design I submitted was of a factory belching smoke on a hilltop with a long snaking line of prisoners in chains. Over the gate to the prison they filed thru was a sign reading: Arbeit Macht Frie.
To my utter amazement, I soon became one of the five finalists in the contest. Being interviewed by Mike Campanale, the Associate Warden of Industries (AW-I) and his staff, they asked me what the slogan on the gate stood for?