Both Larry Rabuck and Amy Stealey say they were so concerned that their son would be killed in prison that, on his instructions by telephone and letter, they made payments, both in cash and by money order, to strangers in Baltimore and elsewhere to settle Michael Rabuck's debts.
Montgomery County, and the Bronx, N.Y. One, for $75, was mailed to an inmate in the House of Correction. Larry Rabuck's total outlay was about $1,000. His modest house in Dundalk has no dining room set, no living room furniture because Rabuck sold them to get money for his son's heroin suppliers.
Amy Stealey says she made between 40 and 50 payments, totaling between $1,500 and $2,000 over three years, to associates or relatives of the inmates who were slipping heroin to her son in Jessup. She mailed some payments and personally delivered others.
At one point, Stealey reported the persistent problem to a corrections official at Jessup, saying she feared for her son's life. The official, she said, advised her to "pay your bill," adding that, "If [Michael] can't afford it, he shouldn't be using it."
So his parents kept paying Rabuck's bills.
"I didn't want him to get killed," said his father.
"But, look where they put him. They put him in Jessup, where you either die by not paying for your drugs or you die by taking them."
For previous columns in this series, an audio clip from Dan Rodricks and links to resources, go to baltimoresun.com/rodricks/drugs.