Three prison-reform events

Getting organized
By LANCE TAPLEY  |  January 16, 2008

Three events centered on Martin Luther King Day will kick off a prison-reform movement in Maine:

“BEND THE BARS,” a meeting to organize a statewide group to advocate for better conditions for prisoners, will take place from 1 to 5 pm, Sunday, January 20, at the Unitarian Universalist Church, 37 Miller St., Belfast. The idea is “to create a unified movement for prison reform in Maine,” says David Bidler, of Portland’s Black Bird Collective, the meeting’s sponsor. Bidler expects attendance from members of Peace Action Maine, the NAACP, Volunteers for Hancock Jail Residents in Ellsworth, and the Waldo County Restorative Justice Project, among other groups. The open-to-the-public session will discuss prisoner human-rights violations, better news-media access for prisoners, prison education, and prisoner reintroduction to society.

On Martin Luther King Day, Monday, January 21, from 2:35 to 3:50 pm, a WORKSHOP ON PRISONER EDUCATION open to the public will be held in Room G50 in Pettengill Hall, Bates College, Lewiston. Max Kenner, director of the degree-granting Bard Prison Initiative in New York state, and Kay Bouchard, educational director of the Maine Correctional Center in Windham, will be among the speakers. The organizer, Laura Balladur, a Bates French professor, wants to promote liberal-arts education in Maine’s prisons.

A public lecture by Max Kenner on “LIBERAL ARTS IN THE PRISONS” will be given at noon in Room G65, Pettingill Hall, Bates College, Lewiston, on Tuesday, January 22.

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