66. “Almost Home: My Life Story, Vol 1,” Damien Echols

Damien Echols is one of three West Memphis teenagers tried and wrongfully convicted in the murder of three children. This book tells about Damien’s childhood, his constant harassment by the police department, the conditions of his imprisonment, his conversion to Zen Buddhism, and his marriage.

It just so happened that I read two books at the same time about the great shame of the US prison system. Damien contends that the reason that he was targeted by the police for these “Satanic” murders is that he was a poor outsider who wore black and had been hospitalized for a mental illness. Ever since an incident at work where they called the police on a woman who was obviously mentally ill, I’ve been bumping up against the entwining of the prison and mental health systems.

This was written on the endpages of the book:


A prison guard is life’s ultimate coward. They lack the bravery to be police officers and they have no balls when it comes to be a criminal. They are a parasite that sucks off both worlds. Read Titicut Follies, a documentary/book made by Harvard U students. A Film/book the “system” faught hard to consedle. Than draw your own conclusions. They walk a “cowards journey.”
The night before my release from MCI Bridgewater six guards entered my tiny cel in the middle of the night. They smelt of alcohol. They spit on me and tried to entice me, to respond, so I would looze my parole/release the following day. I sat on my bunk, my head down, and got punked off by my keepers. I walked out of Bridgewater the next day. That was Nov 2, 1989.
I can still smell the first guard who spit on me’s cologne.
Justice, ya right.
It’s now Sept 08.
Cheap cologne.

Pages: 168
Total pages: 19,017

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  1. vikky
    November 4, 2010 at 8:57 pm

    Eddie Vedder is a big supporter of the Free the WM3 campaign. Damien Echols wrote the PJ song “Army Reserve.” Just a little FYI.

  2. Timothy
    February 8, 2012 at 10:41 am

    I read this book and it is such a confronting story about our system. It really knocked me down. It is horrible when any innocent person is convicted; it is even more so when the innocent is about to be executed by the state – the same state that provided him with ineffective and inexperienced counsel, and put him in the hands of a corrupt judge. I bought it at in ebook format here for only $5.19 it is so worth it: http://www.ebookmall.com/ebook/almost-home/iuniverse-inc

  3. Jon
    February 17, 2012 at 6:36 am

    Agree totally with Timothy, touching story and made me think about our system. Serious stuff… Btw it seems ebookmall added Almost Home to some special sale, so it’s even cheaper now. Got it for $4.99!
    http://www.ebookmall.com/ebook/almost-home/iuniverse-inc

  4. Gina
    July 6, 2015 at 6:50 pm

    It seems this book is now out of print and I can’t find it in ebook form anywhere. I bought the next book, Life After Death, but from reviews it appears Almost Home is more detailed, even though most of it is apparently covered in the newer book, so they discontinued the first. I’d still like to read the original.

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