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by Matt Melvin


When Matthew Melvin started working at a car dealership in South Burlington, Vermont, he never thought that one mistake would lead to a life-changing stint in prison. Feeling he wasn’t being paid his full commissions on car sales, he made an impulsive decision to get what he felt he was owed. He hatched a badly-thought out plot to steal a car, sell it as his own and keep the profits. However, a basic reference and background check quickly revealed that the vehicle’s title was not in his name, but still belonged to the dealership. He was arrested and sentenced to prison.

While Matthew has taken responsibility for his poor life choices, he believes he has been treated unfairly due to his sexual orientation, religious and political affiliations, and his adult diagnosis of autism. While he and his lawyer argued that his punishment would be best served in a mental health facility, Matt was unfortunately sentenced to 18 months in prison to be served in general population.

Terrified and alone, Matthew began his prison term with the best of intentions—to keep his head down and serve his time as uneventfully as possible. But being a gay, Christian, Trump supporter brought him unwanted and negative attention. He was bullied by cellmates, targeted by gangs and even raped in one facility. The months he was imprisoned felt like decades and there were times he doubted he would make it out alive.

Bullied Behind Bars chronicles Matthew Melvin’s life feeling like an outcast, enduring a lonely and friendless childhood, and being punished for a crime that began with the honorable goal of him just trying to make a living. 

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