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Couple indicted in Augusta man’s murder

Zina Fritz and Michael Sean McQuade lived in apartment where killing occurred

An Augusta couple has been charged with murder in connection with the drug-related death of a man last November.

Zina Fritz, 27, and her boyfriend, Michael Sean McQuade, 45, were both indicted on murder charges stemming from the death of Joseph Marceau, 31, of Augusta, on Nov. 23, according to Steve McCausland, spokesman for the Maine Department of Public Safety spokesman.

Fritz and McQuade lived in the apartment at 75 Washington St., Augusta, where Marceau’s body was found.

Investigators have not disclosed how Marceau died but have said the death was drug-related.

Augusta police arrested the couple on unrelated charges last week. They were told of the indictment against them Monday, McCausland said.

A third person, Damik Davis of New York, was arrested on a murder charge the day Marceau’s body was discovered.

Police went to the apartment after receiving a report of a disturbance.

Fritz and McQuade are expected to make their first court appearance Tuesday at the Capital Judicial Center in Augusta.

 

Augusta couple pleads not guilty to murder, robbery

Dirty

AUGUSTA, Maine — An Augusta man and woman pleaded not guilty Tuesday to murder, felony murder and robbery in the Nov. 23 death of an Augusta man.

Zina Marie Fritze, 27, and her boyfriend, Michael Sean McQuade, 45, were indicted last week by a Kennebec County grand jury on charges of intentional or knowing or depraved indifference murder, felony murder and robbery.

Tuesday’s appearance at the Augusta Judicial Center was their first since the indictments.

Felony murder is a crime for which someone is charged when they are alleged to have caused the death of someone while committing murder, robbery, burglary, kidnapping, arson, gross sexual assault or escape.

Both will remain in jail without bail pending February hearings, Superior Court Justice Daniel Billings determined.

Another man, Damik Davis, 25, of Queens, New York, was arrested and charged with murder the day Joseph Marceau’s body was found. Davis remains in at Kennebec County Jail.

The body of Marceau of 23 Winthrop St., Augusta, was found Nov. 23, 2015, in a fourth-floor apartment rented by Fritze and McQuade at 75 State St., in Augusta.

Police have called the death a drug-related homicide, but Assistant Attorney General John Alsop, who is prosecuting the case, said following the arraignment that the felony murder charge results from the allegation of robbery and that neither Fritze nor McQuade are charged with any drug-related crimes.

Alsop said no decision has yet been made about whether to seek to join the two cases.

Immediately following Davis’ arrest, police began searching for Fritze and McQuade. They were were located, questioned and released by police two days after the homicide.

However, they were arrested by Augusta police Friday on unrelated charges and have been held in jail since then. The felony indictments were announced Monday.

Fritze’s attorney, Darrick Banda, declined to comment on the current charges, having just been assigned the case Monday. Attorney Andrew Dawson, who represents McQuade on lesser charges of theft, appeared Tuesday with McQuade, but another attorney will be appointed to represent him on the murder charges, Billings said.

Augusta murder suspect dies after being found hanging in jail cell

Zina Fritz, 27, charged with murder stemming from death of Joseph Marceau

Zina Fritz, 27, who was charged with murder stemming from the death of Joseph Marceau, 31, of Augusta, on Nov. 23, died Wednesday, said Steve McCausland, spokesman for the Maine Department of Public Safety.Fritz was found hanging by a bed sheet in her Kennebec County Jail cell Wednesday afternoon, McCausland said.

She was taken to MaineGeneral in Augusta, but died in the ambulance.

Fritz’s death will be investigated by Maine State Police and the attorney general’s officer per state protocol, McCausland said.

Fritz and her boyfriend, Michael Sean McQuade, 45, lived in the apartment at 75 Washington St., Augusta, where Marceau’s body was found.

Fritz and McQuade pleaded not guilty in court on Tuesday and were ordered held without bail.

 

Michael Sean McQuade, defendant in Augusta murder, facing burglary, theft charges

Michael Sean McQuade, 45, of Augusta, was charged Friday by a grand jury in Kennebec County with two counts of burglary, six counts of burglary of a motor vehicle, and eight counts of theft by unauthorized taking, all between May 1, 2015, and Nov. 10, 2015, and all in Augusta.

An indictment is not a determination of guilt, but it indicates that there is enough evidence to proceed with formal charges and a trial.

McQuade pleaded not guilty Jan. 26, 2016, to the prior indictment charging him with murder, felony murder and robbery, in what police say was a drug-related crime.

McQuade’s girlfriend, Zina Marie Fritze, 27, who also was indicted on the murder and robbery charges, committed suicide in jail on Jan. 27, 2016, after she too pleaded not guilty to those offenses.

Marceau was found beaten to death Nov. 23, 2015, in the Washington Street apartment that had been occupied by McQuade and Fritze. Another man, Damik Davis, 26, of Queens, New York, who was arrested shortly after Marceau’s body was found, also pleaded not guilty to murder in three separate forms — intentional or knowing or depraved indifference — as well as felony murder, murder, and robbery, all related to Marceau’s death.

Two men to be sentenced Monday in beating death of Augusta man

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Damik ‘Doughboy’ Davis and Michael ‘Dirty’ Sean McQuade both blamed a third man, Aubrey Armstrong, for the killing of Joseph Marceau.

AUGUSTA — Two more men are to be sentenced Monday in the Nov. 23, 2015, drug-related bludgeoning death of Joseph Marceau, 31, of Augusta.

The hearing is set for 1 p.m. at the Capital Judicial Center.

Damik “Doughboy” Davis, 28, of Queens, New York, and Michael “Dirty” Sean McQuade, 47, of Augusta, pleaded guilty 11 months ago to felony murder and robbery in the Augusta killing and signed agreements with the state that spelled out their sentencing parameters.

The agreements said they would cooperate with prosecution of others in the case.

A third man, Aubrey Armstrong, 29, of Far Rockaway, Queens, New York, was sentenced on July 13 to 30 years in prison for felony murder and a concurrent 29 years for the robbery.

Under Maine law, a person is guilty of felony murder if he or she commits or attempts to commit a felony – murder, robbery, burglary, kidnapping, arson, gross sexual assault, or escape – and this causes the death of another person.

Justice Daniel Billings said there wasn’t enough evidence to convict Armstrong personally of carrying out the murder.

It is not clear who administered the fatal blows to 31-year-old Marceau in the trash-strewn, fourth-floor apartment on Washington Street from which McQuade and his girlfriend Zina Fritze had been evicted. Fritze committed suicide in jail a day after pleading not guilty to the murder charge.

Davis and McQuade blamed Armstrong for the fatal beating. Armstrong did not testify at his trial.

Billings unsealed the two cooperation agreements Friday. The agreements, signed Aug. 22, 2017, say that the murder charges against Davis and McQuade will be dismissed when they are sentenced on the felony murder and robbery charges.

Davis agreed to a sentence of 30 years – 10 years suspended. He was not called to testify at Armstrong’s trial.

McQuade, who testified at Armstrong’s trial and said he saw Armstrong beat Marceau to death, agreed to a sentence of 25 years, with 10-15 years suspended.

McQuade also is to be sentenced on a series of burglary, theft and burglary of a motor vehicle charges to which he previously pleaded no contest.

McQuade testified that Armstrong wanted to rob Marceau of 5 grams of heroin and that McQuade and Fritze accompanied Davis, Armstrong and Marceau to the apartment.

He said he saw Marceau standing with his back to the entry door and Armstrong and Davis facing him.

“Immediately a milk bottle came smashing down across Joe’s head,” McQuade testified. “It was like a nanosecond, then Doughboy came smashing down with a chair across his head.”

McQuade said during the first 10 seconds Marceau hollered for them to “just take it,” meaning the drugs, but the beating didn’t stop.

 

Two more men sentenced in 2015 murder case

AUGUSTA, Maine (WABI) – Two more men were sentenced Monday for their involvement in the 2015 murder of Joseph Marceau

.Michael “Dirty” Sean McQuade received 12 years in jail for his guilty plea of felony murder and robbery.

Damik “Doughboy” Davis got 20 years behind bars on the same charges.

The sentences were reduced due to cooperation in the investigation from both individuals.

Maine Assistant Attorney General John Alsop says there were no surprises, as they reached deals beforehand.

“Both cases – these outcomes were something that we agreed upon some time ago,” says Alsop. “Both of these gentlemen agreed to cooperate and testify against Mr. Armstrong.”

The defense teams were also satisfied with the deals reached.

“I think that Michael McQuade realized that this is a terrible tragedy and has taken responsibility for that, so I think it’s been good that there’s been closure for both him and the family,” says Andrew Wright, McQuade’s defense attorney.

“Mr. Davis received a 20 year sentence,” says Stephen Smith, Davis’ defense attorney. “We’re pleased with the outcome. It was a negotiated outcome.”

Aubrey Armstrong was given 30 years in jail earlier this month for his role in the murder.

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AUGUSTA – John P. L’Heureux, a Sanford man known for his wild rage and violent
past, is accused of killing two people, torching two houses and firing a shot
at a trooper before quietly surrendering to police early Wednesday morning, 25
hours after his crime spree began, police said.

L’Heureux, 28, has been charged with two counts of murder in the deaths of
Kristen Smith, 16, his stepdaughter, who recently completed her sophomore year
at Cony High School in Augusta; and Mary Small Turner, 87, a hairdresser and
his former landlady.

Smith was apparently beaten with a piece of wood and left half-naked in a
shallow grave outside Augusta, police said. Turner was smashed with a vacuum
cleaner and strangled before her Augusta home was set on fire, court documents
show. L’Heureux also has been charged with arson.

L’Heureux, shaggy-haired and heavy-lidded, made his first appearance in
Kennebec County District Court on Wednesday afternoon.

He did not enter a plea. A bail hearing is set for Monday. He is being held
without bail at Kennebec County Jail.

L’Heureux’s arrest came after hours of non-stop work by police from central and
southern Maine. Their efforts to solve arsons in Augusta and Shapleigh and to
find a girl missing from Vassalboro mushroomed into a manhunt for a killer.

L’Heureux, released from prison in February 1995 after serving time for a
savage attack on a Sanford woman in 1991, was the common link.

The chain of events, which spanned 90 miles, began about 11:30 p.m. Monday when
L’Heureux spotted Kristen Smith outside an Augusta convenience store, according
to an affidavit filed by police.

Beth White, 24, who was with Smith that night, said Smith told her she was
going for a ride with L’Heureux because he said he had had a fight with her
mother and he needed to talk to someone, according to police reports. Smith
never returned.

L’Heureux told detectives he drove her to St. Mary’s Cemetery in Manchester,
about three miles from downtown Augusta. Once there, he assaulted her, beat her
with a piece of poplar wood, then buried her in a shallow grave near the
cemetery, police said. Her body was found there early Wednesday morning. She
was naked from the waist down.

Police say L’Heureux left the cemetery and headed back to Augusta and Turner’s
home at 25 Myrtle St., where he and his wife and stepchildren had lived in an
upstairs apartment for seven months before moving to Sanford in mid-June.
L’Heureux knew Turner’s back door would be unlocked, police said.

”He said that he intended to kill her because she had complained about getting
old and how difficult it was growing old,” Maine State Police Detective
William Harwood wrote in his affidavit. ”He said he hit her with a vacuum
cleaner and then set the house on fire. He said that Ms. Turner was still alive
as the fire was starting and he stepped on her throat.”

Turner’s neighbors reported the fire about 2 a.m. Tuesday. Turner’s body was
found in the living room. An autopsy, performed Tuesday, showed Turner died
from strangulation, and that her face and head were battered.

Tuesday morning, as investigators sifted through Turner’s charred home, Kristen
Smith’s family reported her missing to the Kennebec County Sheriff’s Office.
Smith’s mother, Joy Robie L’Heureux drove up to Vassalboro, where Smith had been
staying with her father, Arnold Smith.

Joy Robie L’Heureux and Arnold Smith declined to comment Wednesday.

By 6 p.m. Tuesday, L’Heureux was back in southern Maine, torching a cabin in
Shapleigh, police said. Detectives said L’Heureux may have had some sort of tie
with a former caretaker of the cabin, but no specifics were provided.

Not far from the cabin, firefighters spotted a car on fire, a tip that this
fire was no accident.

A check of the car’s registration revealed the names John and Joy L’Heureux.
The puzzle was coming together with one piece missing: John L’Heureux.

L’Heureux did not make much effort to hide from police, according to court
documents. About 12:30 a.m. Wednesday, he shot out the rear window of Trooper
Gerome Carr’s cruiser as Carr left the scene of the Shapleigh fire. Police
descended on the area.

L’Heureux then stepped out of the woods and told Carr and Trooper Peter Sheldon
that he had been on the run for two days. He asked the troopers if they were
looking for him.

”Should we be?” Sheldon countered.

”I killed that old lady in Augusta and torched the house,” L’Heureux told the
troopers, according to a police affidavit.

Maine State Police Lt. Tim Doyle said police still haven’t been able to answer
one vexing question: Why did he do it?

”We’re looking into the facts and circumstances,” Doyle said. ”But right now
there is no apparent motive.”

The details of the murders dumbfounded some of L’Heureux’s acquaintances in
Augusta and Sanford.

Flossie Panek, who visted her elderly friend Mary Turner daily, and helped
Turner with her errands and her tenants, said she knew John L’Heureux as
clean-cut, quiet and well-mannered.

”I could not believe when everyone said this was the gentleman who had done
this,” Panek said. ”I thought ‘No, it can’t be.’ ”

Panek went to Kennebec County District Court to see the accused killer for
herself, and her disbelief soon turned to anger.

”This man is beyond sick,” she said.

Panek said Joy and John L’Heureux left Turner’s apartment on amicable terms
with the former landlady, after L’Heureux lost his job in Augusta.

L’Heureux’s new neighbors in Sanford were similarly disturbed by the charges.

”He seemed like a hell of a nice guy,” said Joe Dionne, who lived next door
to L’Heureux on River Road. ”My wife is in shock today.”

L’Heureux’s criminal history, however, is well-known among some in Sanford,
where he was raised and where he attacked a woman in 1991.

Tammy Andrews was beaten, then run over with a car and left – grievously
injured – by the town dump. Her pelvis was broken in four places, her hips in
nine, and for more than a week her face was swollen beyond recognition.

L’Heureux was originally charged with attempted murder in that case, but he
pleaded guilty to the lesser charge of aggravated assault because prosecutors
acknowledged their case was largely circumstantial. Andrews could not remember
the attack.

At his sentencing hearing in 1992, L’Heureux apologized to Andrews.

”There’s no excuse,” he told her. ”I know what I’ve done and I wish I could
change what happened. You were an innocent victim to my rage.”

By Sarah Ragland 
Staff writer Gregory Kesich and news assistant Will Bartlett contributed to
this report.

Monmouth Death

AUGUSTA — Janice McDonald tried to fight off a vicious knife attack by her youngest son before succumbing to her wounds on Aug. 24, 2009.

The state says it was a depraved act of murder. The defense says it was an act of manslaughter, provoked by a lifetime of abuse. A jury will decide this week in Kennebec County Superior Court.

No one says that Kenneth McDonald didn’t beat and stab his mother to death in the home they shared in Monmouth. McDonald was indicted on one count of murder, and pleaded not guilty to that charge.

In court Monday, Assistant Attorney General Leane Zainea questioned neighbors and family members about the relationship between the mother and son – the central element of Kenneth McDonald’s defense.

Most said that Kenneth McDonald, 44, was quiet, and that they never heard the two argue.

But defense attorney James Billings said the attack came after Janice McDonald repeatedly refused to let her son take a trip to the coast.

She also refused to change his doctor’s appointment and call his workplace to say he would be gone, Billings said. Kenneth McDonald worked four days every other week at the Monmouth Transfer Station.

Billings said Kenneth McDonald, who was described by family members as “slow,” depended on his mother for everything, even permission to take money out of his own bank account.

Billings told jurors that they should find Kenneth McDonald guilty of manslaughter, not murder. He said Janice McDonald was her son’s best friend, but she constantly told him he was incapable of doing anything on his own.

Billings said Kenneth McDonald asked his mother several times for permission to take a trip, until an argument broke out early on Aug. 24, 2009.

“She did not approve of the plan. She became angry. She slapped him across the face,” Billings said. “At that point, he boiled over, he snapped.

“He picked up the knife off her bedside table. He doesn’t really remember that,” Billings said. “He basically knows he stabbed his mother to death.”

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Zainea told jurors that Janice McDonald, who was 80 when she died, lay defenseless – wearing only a nightgown – as the youngest of her seven children stabbed her repeatedly.

“Her throat was cut so severely, it severed her jugular vein and her carotid artery,” the prosecutor said.

For part of Monday, witnesses testified about Kenneth McDonald’s whereabouts and calm demeanor as he made his way from Monmouth to Lewiston and finally hitchhiked to Bailey Island in the 24 hours after his mother’s death.

Wearing a light blue shirt and a light blue tie, Kenneth McDonald sat quietly through the testimony. He has been in custody since his arrest on Aug. 25, 2009.

Fourteen people testified on Monday, as the state began presenting its case. Billings told jurors that they can expect to hear from Kenneth McDonald when the defense presents its case.

Monmouth man sentenced to 30 years for killing mother

Kenneth McDonald listens to opening arguments during his murder trial Monday, Aug. 30, 2010, at Kennebec County Superior Court in Augusta, Maine. He is accused of murdering his 80-year-old mother, Janice McDonald, in August 2009. His defense attorney contends he was driven by a lifetime of abuse from her and he should be convicted of manslaughter, not murder.

AUGUSTA, Maine — A Monmouth man has been sentenced to 30 years in prison for killing his mother last year in the home they shared.

Forty-four-year-old Kenneth McDonald abruptly ended his trial on Sept. 1 when he pleaded guilty to murder in the stabbing death of 80-year-old Janice McDonald on Aug. 24, 2009. He was sentenced on Wednesday on Augusta.

WMTW-TV reports that the judge said she considered his diminished mental capacity and believed McDonald was sorry for his actions.

[The article Dirty refers to below is on amphetamine abuse in the United States: https://thebollard.com/2018/12/02/speed-demons/ – transcriber.]

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Write to Dirty via:

Maine State Prison – Michael McQuade – MDOC #82448

– 807 Cushing Road – Warren, Maine 04864-4600

 

“You just sell it like you were selling cars, or real estate, or hamburgers.

In the early 1980s, the Corrections Corporation of America pioneered the idea of running prisons for a profit. “You just sell it like you were selling cars, or real estate, or hamburgers,” one of its founders told Inc. magazine. Today, corporate-run prisons hold eight percent of America’s inmates. Here’s how the private prison industry took off:

1983

Thomas Beasley, Doctor R. Crants, and T. Don Hutto start Corrections Corporation of America, the world’s first private prison company.

1984
CCA begins operating a county jail and a juvenile detention center in Tennessee. It also opens its first privately owned facility in Houston, a motel hastily remodeled to hold immigration detainees.

1985
A federal judge orders Tennessee to stop admitting inmates to its overcrowded prisons. CCA offers, unsuccessfully, to pay $250 million for a 99-year lease on the state’s entire prison system.

1986
CCA goes public, saying its facility design and use of electronic surveillance mean it can operate larger prisons “with less staff than the public sector would have needed.”

Dog team at Winn Correctional Center

A guard dog at Winn Correctional Center in Winnfield, Louisiana
1987
Wackenhut Corrections Corporation, later known as the GEO Group, gets its first contract to run a federal immigration detention center.

1990s
Among the “model” bills ?to emerge from the American Legislative Exchange Council‘s criminal justice task force, which CCA later co-chairs, are truth-in-sentencing and three-strikes legislation that help fuel the ’90s prison boom. (CCA says it did not vote on or comment on any proposed ALEC legislation.)*

1997
Arguing that it’s in the property business, CCA becomes a real estate investment trust for tax purposes. A new affiliate, Prison Realty Trust, raises $447 million for a prison-buying spree.

Private And Public Prison Populations 1990-2014

https://datawrapper.dwcdn.net/KYDjl/2/

1998
The Justice Department investigates a CCA prison in Youngstown, Ohio, following a spate of escapes, stabbings, and killings. In addition to finding inexperienced and poorly trained guards, the probe reveals that CCA took on maximum-security inmates at a facility designed for a medium-security population.

2000
As prison occupancy rates drop, Prison Realty Trust nearly goes bankrupt. CCA stock, once nearly $150 a share, falls to 19 cents. The company drops the trust and restructures.

CCA Stock Price, 1997-2016

https://datawrapper.dwcdn.net/LsEny/3/

2004
A Justice Department report finds a “disturbing degree” of physical abuse by staff and underreporting of violence among inmates at a Baltimore juvenile facility run by the private prison operator Correctional Services Corporation. CSC is later acquired by GEO.

2005
Rep. Ted Strickland (D-Ohio) introduces the Private Prison Information Act, which would require private prisons holding federal inmates to comply with Freedom of Information Act requests. It died, as have at least seven similar bills opposed by CCA and GEO.

2007

A drawing by an immigrant child held at CCA's T. Don Hutto Center.

A drawing by an immigrant child held at CCA’s T. Don Hutto Center. ACLU

CCA’s and GEO’s stock prices jump as both companies jockey to run the federal government’s expanding immigration detention centers. Meanwhile, the ACLU settles a case against Immigration and Customs Enforcement for conditions in the CCA-managed T. Don Hutto Residential Center in Texas, where about half the detainees are kids. Under the agreement, children no longer wear prison uniforms and may move more freely.

2008
The New York Times investigates the deaths of immigration detainees, such as a Guinean man at a CCA-run facility who fractured his skull and was placed in solitary confinement before being taken to a hospital. He died after four months in a coma.

2009
A CCA representative attends a meeting where ALEC members draft the legislation that will eventually become Arizona’s notorious anti-immigration law. CCA denies having a hand in writing the bill. It cuts ties with ALEC the following year.

2010
An ACLU suit alleges rampant violence at a CCA-run Idaho prison known as “gladiator school.” The lawsuit claims the prison is understaffed and fosters an environment that “relies on the degradation, humiliation, and subjugation of prisoners.” The FBI investigates but doesn’t pursue charges. In Kentucky, the governor orders all female inmates removed from a CCA prison after more than a dozen cases of alleged sexual abuse by guards.

2011
 

Inmates at Winn Correctional Center

Inmates at Winn Correctional Center

CCA becomes the first private prison company to purchase a state facility, buying Ohio’s Lake Erie Correctional Institutionas part of a privatization plan proposed by Gov. John Kasich and supported by his corrections chief, former CCA Director Gary Mohr.

 

2012
CCA offers to buy prisons in 48 states in exchange for 20-year management contracts. The same year, a GEO-operated youth facility in Mississippi where staff sexually abused minors is described by a judge as a “cesspool of unconstitutional and inhuman acts and conditions.” At another Mississippi facility, a 24-year-old CCA employee is killed during a riot over prisoners’ complaints about poor food, inadequate medical care, and disrespectful guards.

2013
CCA converts back to a real estate investment trust, as does GEO. Mother Jones reports that the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has invested $2.2 million in GEO.

2014
As it did during at least the previous five years, CCA’s annual report flags criminal justice reform—including drug decriminalization and the reduction of mandatory minimum sentences—as a “risk factor” for its business.* Chris Epps, Mississippi’s prison commissioner and the president of the American Correctional Association, is charged with taking kickbacks from a private prison contractor.

2015
Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) co-sponsors the Justice is Not for Sale Act, which would ban all government contracts with private prison companies. After Hillary Clinton is criticizedfor using campaign bundlers who’d worked as lobbyists for CCA and GEO, she promises to no longer take their money and says, “We should end private prisons and private detention centers.”

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* This item has been clarified.

4,900 people from Maine are behind bars today – Prisonpolicy.org

Pie chart showing that 3,800 Maine residents are locked up in federal prisons, state prisons, local jails and other types of facilities

Rates of imprisonment have grown dramatically in the last 40 years

graph showing the number of people in state prison and local jails per 100,000 residents in Maine from 1978 to 2015Also see these Maine graphs:

Graph showing the number of people in Maine jails who were convicted and the number who were unconvicted, for the years 1978, 1983, 1988, 1993, 1999, 2005, and 2013.

Today, Maine’s incarceration rates stand out internationally

graphic comparing the incarceration rates of the founding NATO members with the incarceration rates of the United States and the state of Maine. The incarceration rate of 698 per 100,000 for the United States and 363 for Maine is much higher than any of the founding NATO membersIn the U.S., incarceration extends beyond prisons and local jails to include other systems of confinement. The U.S. and state incarceration rates in this graph include people held by these other parts of the justice system, so they may be slightly higher than the commonly reported incarceration rates that only include prisons and jails. Details on the data are available in States of Incarceration: The Global Context. We also have a version of this graph focusing on the incarceration of women.

People of color are overrepresented in prisons and jails

2010 graph showing incarceration rates per 100,000 people of various racial and ethnic groups in Maine

racial and ethnic disparities between the prison/jail and general population in ME as of 2010See also our detailed graphs about WhitesBlacks, and American Indians/Native Americans in Maine prisons and jails.

Maine’s criminal justice system is more than just its prisons and jails

Pie chart showing that 10,000 Maine residents are in various types of correctional facilities or under criminal justice supervision on probation or parole

Which Jailbreak went smoother?

 

 

Who fought the law better?  Bobby Fuller or the Clash?

 

 

 

There are 2.2 million people in the nation’s prisons and jails—a 500% increase over the last 40 years. Changes in law and policy, not changes in crime rates, explain most of this increase. The results are overcrowding in prisons and fiscal burdens on states, despite increasing evidence that large-scale incarceration is not an effective means of achieving public safety.


International Rates of Incarceration per 100,000
0200400600U.S.RwandaRussiaBrazilAustraliaSpainChinaCanadaFranceAustriaGermanyDenmarkSwedenIndia

Country Incarceration rate (per 100,000)
U.S. 670
Rwanda 434
Russia 413
Brazil 325
Australia 167
Spain 126
China 118
Canada 114
France 102
Austria 94
Germany 78
Denmark 59
Sweden 57
India 33
Data source: International Centre for Prison Studies. Download chart

U.S. State and Federal Prison Population, 1925-2016
192519301936194219481954196019661972197819841990199620022008201120140500,0001,000,0001,500,000

Year Population
1925 91,669
1926 97,991
1928 116,390
1930 129,453
1932 137,997
1934 138,316
1936 145,038
1938 160,285
1940 173,706
1942 150,384
1944 132,456
1946 140,079
1948 155,977
1950 166,123
1952 168,233
1954 182,901
1956 189,565
1958 205,643
1960 212,953
1962 218,830
1964 214,336
1966 199,654
1968 187,914
1970 196,429
1972 196,092
1974 218,466
1976 262,833
1978 294,396
1980 315,974
1982 395,516
1984 443,398
1986 522,084
1988 603,732
1990 739,980
1992 846,277
1994 1,016,691
1996 1,137,722
1998 1,245,402
2000 1,331,278
2002 1,380,516
2004 1,496,629
2006 1,570,861
2008 1,610,446
2009 1,613,740
2010 1,605,127
2011 1,598,780
2012 1,571,013
2013 1,516,879
2014 1,508,636
2015 1,476,847
2016 1,458,173
Data source: Bureau of Justice Statistics. Download chart

How did this happen?

We started sending more people to prison.

A series of law enforcement and sentencing policy changes of the “tough on crime” era resulted in dramatic growth in incarceration. Since the official beginning of the War on Drugs in 1982, the number of people incarcerated for drug offenses in the U.S. skyrocketed from 40,900 in 1980 to 450,345 in 2016. Today, there are more people behind bars for a drug offense than the number of people who were in prison or jail for any crime in 1980. The number of people sentenced to prison for property and violent crimes has also increased even during periods when crime rates have declined.

People in Prisons & Jails for Drug Offenses, 1980 & 2016
19802016State PrisonsFederal PrisonsJails060,000120,000180,000

Location 1980 2016
State Prisons 19,000 197,200
Federal Prisons 4,700 81,900
Jails 17,200 171,245
Data source: Bureau of Justice Statistics; The Sentencing Project. Download chart

We started sending people to prison for much longer terms.

Number of People Serving Life Sentences, 1984-2016
1984199220032005200820122016050,000100,000150,000

Year Number of People Serving Life Sentences
1984 34,000
1992 69,845
2003 127,677
2005 132,000
2008 142,727
2012 157,966
2016 161,957
Data source: The Sentencing Project. Download chart
Harsh sentencing laws like mandatory minimums, combined with cutbacks in parole release, keep people in prison for longer periods of time. The National Research Council reported that half of the 222% growth in the state prison population between 1980 and 2010 was due to an increase of time served in prison for all offenses. There has also been a historic rise in the use of life sentences: one in nine people in prison is now serving a life sentence, nearly a third of whom are sentenced to life without parole.

Mass incarceration has not touched all communities equally

The racial impact of mass incarceration

Sentencing policies, implicit racial bias, and socioeconomic inequity contribute to racial disparities at every level of the criminal justice system. Today, people of color make up 37% of the U.S. population but 67% of the prison population. Overall, African Americans are more likely than white Americans to be arrested; once arrested, they are more likely to be convicted; and once convicted, they are more likely to face stiff sentences. Black men are six times as likely to be incarcerated as white men and Hispanic men are more than twice as likely to be incarcerated as non-Hispanic white men.

Lifetime Likelihood of Imprisonment for U.S. Residents Born in 2001

lifetime likelihood

This estimate is based on data from 2001. Data source: Bureau of Justice Statistics. Download infographic

Mass incarceration and public safety

Incarceration has some impact on crime, but the impact is one of diminishing returns.

Crime rates have declined substantially since the early 1990s, but studies suggest that rising imprisonment has not played a major role in this trend. The National Research Council concluded that while prison growth was a factor in reducing crime, “the magnitude of the crime reduction remains highly uncertain and the evidence suggests it was unlikely to have been large.” Several factors explain why this impact was relatively modest.

First, incarceration is particularly ineffective at reducing certain kinds of crimes: in particular, youth crimes, many of which are committed in groups, and drug crimes. When people get locked up for these offenses, they are easily replaced on the streets by others seeking an income or struggling with addiction.

Second, people tend to “age out” of crime. Research shows that crime starts to peak in the mid- to late- teenage years and begins to decline when individuals are in their mid-20s. After that, crime drops sharply as adults reach their 30s and 40s. The National Research Council study concludes:

“Because recidivism rates decline markedly with age, lengthy prison sentences, unless they specifically target very high-rate or extremely dangerous offenders, are an inefficient approach to preventing crime by incapacitation.”

As a result, the excessive sentencing practices in the U.S. are largely counterproductive and extremely costly.

State Expenditures on Corrections in Billions, 1985-2016
1985199019952000200520102016015304560

Year State Expenditures on Corrections
1985 $6.7 Billion
1990 $16.9 Billion
1995 $26.1 Billion
2000 $36.4 Billion
2005 $42.3 Billion
2010 $51.4 Billion
2016 $57.7 Billion
Data source: National Association of State Budget Officers. Download chart

Significant reforms in recent years

After nearly 40 years of continued growth, the U.S. prison population has stabilized in recent years.

This is partially a result of declining crime rates, but has largely been achieved through pragmatic changes in policy and practice. For more than a decade, the political climate of criminal justice reform has been evolving toward evidence-based, commonsense approaches to public safety. This can be seen in a variety of legislative, judicial, and policy changes that have successfully decreased incarceration without adverse impacts on public safety.

At the state level:

  • California voters passed ballot measure Proposition 47 in 2014, which reclassified certain low-level property and drug crimes from felonies to misdemeanors, and will reinvest some of the fiscal savings into prevention programs
  • New York policymakers reformed the Rockefeller drug laws in 2009, which imposed harsh mandatory minimum sentences for low-level drug offenses

At the federal level:

  • In 2014, the United States Sentencing Commission unanimously voted to reduce excessive sentences for up to 46,000 people currently serving time for federal drug offenses
  • Congress passed the Fair Sentencing Act in 2010, which reduced the disparity in sentencing between crack and powder cocaine offenses
    As promising as these changes may be, we are a long way from solving our national problem of mass incarceration—and the way forward is clear.

Where do we need to go from here?

Just as a bicycle works best when it uses different gears based on the terrain, we need a justice system that has different responses for different situations—shifting gears to treatment, prevention, and long-term public safety solutions as appropriate. By taking a practical approach to criminal justice reform, we can decrease crime, enhance public safety, and make more responsible use of our resources.

In particular, we need to start by:

  • Eliminating mandatory minimum sentences and cutting back on excessively lengthy sentences; for example, by imposing a 20-year maximum on prison terms.
  • Shifting resources to community-based prevention and treatment for substance abuse.
  • Investing in interventions to that promote strong youth development and respond to delinquency in age-appropriate and evidence-based ways.
  • Examining and addressing the policies and practices, conscious or not, that contribute to racial inequity at every stage of the justice system.
  • Removing barriers that make it harder for individuals with criminal records to turn their lives around.

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Political Prisoners

Welcome to the blog from inmates of Maine's jails and prisons.

In collaboration with the Holistic Recovery Project, the Political Prisoners Blog provides a prisoner's view into what's happening at Maine's correctional facilities.

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