Anti-solitary campaign expands

Stopping Supermax Torture
By LANCE TAPLEY  |  February 3, 2010

As the February 17 State House public hearing approaches on the bill to restrict solitary confinement at the Maine State Prison, the National Religious Campaign Against Torture (NRCAT), which sparked national debate about Abu Ghraib and Guantánamo, has announced its support. The group is contacting church congregations statewide asking them to become involved in the LD 1611 campaign.

The Maine Civil Liberties Union organized a well-covered January 21 press conference in Augusta at which the bill’s sponsor, Representative James Schatz, D-Blue Hill, and other supporters discussed the importance of the effort, which has drawn backing from the American Friends Service Committee, Amnesty International, Maine Disability Rights Center, Maine Association of Psychiatric Physicians, Maine Psychological Association, Maine Council of Churches, Maine Jeremiah Project (an evangelical political group), Maine People’s Alliance, National Alliance on Mental Illness, NAACP, National Association of Social Workers Maine chapter, and the Roman Catholic Diocese of Portland. Bill cosponsors include House speaker Hannah Pingree.

Upcoming events related to the bill:

-Ex-solitary-confinement Massachusetts prisoner Bobby Dellelo speaks; movie on solitary confinement | February 9 @ 7 pm | Talbot Auditorium, Luther Bonney Hall, University of Southern Maine, Portland. Also February 11 @ 6:30 pm | REM Center, 93 Main St., Waterville; and February 12 @ 7 pm, Turrets Auditorium, College of the Atlantic, Bar Harbor.

-Robert King speaks about 29 years in solitary in Louisiana before being exonerated | February 10 @ 7 pm | First Parish Church, 425 Congress St., Portland.

-Criminal Justice Committee hearing on LD 1611 | February 17 @ 1 pm | Room 436, State House, Augusta.

-Ex-solitary-confinement prisoner Ray Luc Levasseur speaks; film on solitary confinement | February 17 @ 6 pm | Belfast Free Library, Belfast.

-“People of Conscience Day of Action,” talks, lobbying; Reverend Richard Killmer, NRCAT executive director, speaks | February 23 @ 9 am-noon | State House Welcome Center, Augusta.

The bill limits solitary to 45 days, bans prison officials from sending mentally ill prisoners to solitary, and establishes a review process for prisoners in solitary. The Warren prison has 100 solitary-confinement cells in its Special Management Unit or “supermax.”

MainePrisonJustice.org | mclu.org | For articles in the Phoenix’s four-year series on torture in the Maine supermax, visit thePhoenix.com/Portland

Related: A black leadership silent on abortion fabrications, Radical night out in Portland, Moneybags Menino, More more >
  Topics: This Just In , Culture and Lifestyle, Health and Fitness, Hannah Pingree,  More more >
| More


Most Popular
ARTICLES BY LANCE TAPLEY
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
  •   WHERE ARE THE LEADERS ON CLIMATE CHANGE?  |  March 20, 2014
    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