Church groups, unions, the Maine Civil Liberties Union, the Maine Prisoner Advocacy Coalition, and others spoke against the bill. Among numerous arguments, they testified that private prisons have a high incidence of violence; that, in their quest to cut costs, corporations treat prisoners inhumanely; and that private prisons' economic benefits are dubious. For many critics, profit-making off of prisoners was immoral.

Chairman Mason, 25, who worked for sports teams after graduating from Pensacola Christian College in Florida, is a first-termer. After the hearing, he said using words like "racist" — even in describing an Arizona law — demeaned supporters of LD 1095.

Would he accept any piece of legislation being called racist?

"We're done, sir!" he exclaimed, and rushed away.

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