Opponents included MPAC, the American Civil Liberties Union of Maine, the National Association of Social Workers, and the Maine Coalition Against Sexual Assault (which the next day testified against the parole bill). The department's testimony revealed that prisoners have tried this remedy only a dozen times in ten years and, during that period, have never been successful.

For this bill's reception, too, dramatic stories were important. A few days before the hearing, the Maine Today newspapers had published online a video of a guard captain at the Maine Correctional Center squirting pepper spray into the face of a mentally ill prisoner tied to a restraint chair. The video and its accompanying story received great attention and, for the officer, condemnation.

The ACLU brought this incident to committee members' notice, but in their discussion they had shown it was already on their minds.

And this most recent news of prisoner abuse came on the heels of news stories about the guard captain at the Maine State Prison who was arrested for assaulting a handcuffed prisoner.

"If the bill isn't defeated, I'd be shocked," said MPAC's Judy Garvey.

< prev  1  |  2  | 
| More

Most Popular
Share this entry with Delicious
  •   MICHAEL JAMES SENT BACK TO PRISON  |  April 16, 2014
    The hearing’s topic was whether James’s “antisocial personality disorder” was enough of a mental disease to keep him from being sent to prison.
  •   LOCKING UP THE MENTALLY ILL  |  April 03, 2014
    The merger of the prison and mental-health systems continues
    The conference was held in March despite the risk of a snowstorm because its organizers wanted “to reach the Legislature while it’s in session,” co-coordinator Fred Horch said.
  •   ANATOMY OF A RIP-OFF, PART II  |  March 06, 2014
    Imagine if state government gave out millions of dollars a year to fat-cat financiers, big banks,  and speculative ventures without monitoring how the money is spent — basically, giving it to whoever walks in the door as long as they flash a few credentials.
  •   ANATOMY OF A TAXPAYER RIP-OFF  |  February 19, 2014
    To try to restore several hundred mill jobs to the historic paper-making North Country towns of Millinocket and East Millinocket, Maine’s politicians, in a bipartisan manner, have given away and are planning to give away millions of taxpayer dollars to various corporate interests, including big, out-of-state banks.

 See all articles by: LANCE TAPLEY