You are currently browsing the tag archive for the ‘Maine Department of Corrections’ tag.

Sorry it’s been a while.  I’ve been busy. We’ve had lots of girls in here,  11 at a time when the block only holds 8.  So very crowded and lots of drama.  I’m keeping out of it, though.

Last week my lawyer came by and said some good things!  I have a conference at the end of the month.  I really hope he is doing his job.  I’ve been here for a couple of months.  Holy –  a couple of months!!  It’s gone, by fast thankfully.  At first I was counting the days one by one, but I had to stop.  It was making it go by soooo slow.  I hope I’m not in here too much longer.  I can’t wait to do a lot of things!

My roomie and I talk to God a lot mostly before bed.  We do Bible roulette.  Every day/night I get the same quote; “Jesus answered, ‘will you lay down your life for me?  Truly, truly I say to you, the rooster will not crow until you have denied me three times.” (John, 13:38)  I’m still trying to figure out what this means to me.  It can mean a few things but He is telling me this over and over for a reason.  Now, last night after telling my roomie I get the same one very day she gets out her “message book,” which is a religious book about the Bible and she quickly went through it and pointed on a page.  Sure enough it said the SAME thing.  It was jaw-dropping.  He is telling me this for a reason.  She has got me in touch with God.  I love it so much.

I hope that you and Bella are doing well.  I have a four year old cat.  She’s sooo fat.  She also hates dogs – LOL.

We recently had an outbreak of the guy blocks getting stupid high.  The C/O s should strip-search people better before booking them in.  Ha! LOL.  We have been dealing with that for almost a week now.  So crazy.  I’m definitely thankful I never did drugs (only smoking pot.)  Having my daughter young save me from experimenting with drugs.  I have a very addictive personality.  I’ve been two months without a cigg… I realy don’t want to smoke when I get out but I have a feeling I might.  The past few weeks I’ve really been craving them. :-(  I’m hoping my family will be allowed to take me in, even though bail will be really high.  I just need someone to offer a piece of land to start with so I can ask the judge for bail.  I just want out.  But I’ve been making it work.. I guess.  Nothing else to do.  LOL.

I’m hoping after tomorrow when we lost three girls the block will settle down a little.  It’s overwhelming, sometimes.

I dunno.  I’m going to keep trying to stay positive.  And hoping for the best.

A-rain-filled-Tabitha

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The Penobscot County Jail is reducing the number of inmates released in the middle of the night.
A former inmate criticized officials for allowing inmates to be released late at night when the buses weren’t running and homeless shelters were closed.

 

BANGOR, Maine — The Penobscot County Jail is reducing the number of inmates released in the middle of the night.

The Bangor Daily News reports that inmates are more likely to be released at 6:30 a.m. instead of midnight after the sheriff changed the policy last month.

The change came after a former inmate criticized officials for allowing inmates to be released late at night when the buses weren’t running and homeless shelters were closed.

The newspaper said most jails that it surveyed release inmates in the morning.

Sheriff Troy Morton says that going forward inmates serving sentences for more than seven days will now be released at 6:30 a.m, unless they request to leave at midnight.

I think it was Chesterton who said he “never met a comma he could trust.” I say: “If you can’t write a comprehensive tome, peace-meal the shit out of it.” I have decided that because I can’t come up with a one-theme bitch. I would just write random thoughts about life here at MCC in general and things that irk, annoy and piss me off in particular. Like life itself, there is no particular Rhyme or Reason to the ordering or level of annoyance here in express; just random pissing & moaning.

1) The old bastard who lives in my room and feels the need to chew fucking hard candy at six in the morning! Really? He has to chew hard candy at six? Personally I would like to strangle him to death, but that could be perceived as a threat from me should it be found out that my name is not really Bob Wire! So, the best I can hope for is that he dies, yes dies! Preferably by choking to death! Which brings me to my next Bitch.

2) This is a bigger bitch than my first bitch and the bitch is this: that this facility has classes to help inmates relearn how to live outside the prison in the real world. Help inmates to live in the real world? Is anyone seeing what I see? The system would not have to teach inmates how to live on the outside, if they did not (by cruel intention) strip inmates of any sense of normalcy of outside life. Ok?! People have to be locked up (really?)! Why the fuck can’t the prison system work as society works but just separate from the outside? The fact is MCC uses Techniques & Designs that intentionally strip inmates of every sense of normal life, only to train them over so they won’t fail when they are released. They will fail or have often failed because the system really, really, really trains them to Fail.

3) The last bitch is really a philosophical query. The query is what is the goal or mission statement of a correction center? What does corrections mean? What is to be corrected? Behavior? Help inmates learn to do things different? Teach them not to get caught again? The reader of this last bitch may be thinking Bob Wire ( me) has lost his nut, it is simple really. Help people change!!! On the surface, the helping inmates change makes sense, but not at MCC… see, at MCC there are plenty of programs IOP, CRA, AA/NA, thinking for a change. The problem is that only 20% of the inmates or so are chosen for programs, and by inference chosen to succeed. Stay with me here… there are mass numbers of people who come & go without ever touching a program.

Does that mean that the DOC & MCC don’t want to “correct” some inmates? Why do some persons here on sex offences get the “nationally renowned treatment program,” but not others? Does MCC want to correct some & not others? Why doesn’t every inmate here on drug charges get drug correction? Why doesn’t the arsonist get a fire correction program? Let me tell you why!! The reason is this:

The DOC & MCC do not give a shit about correcting inmates, for to do so would help reduce the population, it would further reduce Federal Funding on & on and on. The only reason MCC has programs is to give someone a job, get state & federal funding, & provide the public with the “illusion” that they give two shits about the inmates.

Bob Wire
MDOC# not provided

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‘It’s a very good day for Downeast’: Machiasport’s new facility will retain the Downeast Correctional Facility name and house 50 prisoners and 15 staff.

MACHIASPORT, Maine — A new pre-release center will be built on the grounds of the existing property of Downeast Correctional Center in Machiasport, Gov. Janet Mills and Washington County lawmakers jointly announced Friday.

The new facility will house up to 50 minimum-security prisoners and employ 15 staff, the governor’s office said. It will also retain its name of DCF.

“It’s a very good day for Downeast,” Rep. William Tuell, R-East Machias, told NEWS CENTER Maine.

Gov. Mills’ office said the Department of Corrections (DOC) has obtained estimates for design, demolition, and construction, with an estimated budget of $6.5 to $8 million. The DOC is working with the Bureau of Real Estate (BREM) to develop a request for qualifications for an architectural design, setting up the first step in a design-bid-build approach to reopening DCF.

An earlier proposal aimed to open a facility elsewhere in the county.

RELATED: Department of Corrections looks for new facility
RELATED: Washington County prison will house 50 inmates — but where?

Construction is estimated to take about 24 months before an opening.

The DOC is expected to engage with unions, including on the issue of extending recall rights of former employees, the governor’s office said.

Funding will come from a state government bond, approved in 2016, which also funds a remodel of Windham’s Maine Correctional Center.

Mills said she was proud her administration was able to work closely with state Sen. Marianne Moore, R-Washington; and Reps. Tuell; Rep. Kathy Javner, R-Chester; Rep. Billy Bob Faulkingham, R-Winter Harbor; and Rep. Robert Alley, D-Beals.

“As someone who fought to keep DCF open, I understand how important it is to the people of Washington County and I shared in their frustration when it was closed,” Mills said in a statement. “I thank the Washington County Delegation for working with me and Commissioner Liberty to rectify this situation as best we could and ensure that DCF continues on in this new facility.”

RELATED: Corrections facility may return to Washington County
RELATED: Downeast Corrections gets support from new budget

Tuell thanked the governor and her administration.

“We are very happy the Administration is keeping DCF where it is and keeping a promise to the people of Washington County,” he said. “Our delegation was committed to the current DCF location, and we are very pleased with the outcome.”

Sen. Moore was relieved an agreement had been made.

“I am happy to have been able to work with [Mills] and my fellow Washington County delegation to finally put to rest the issue of Downeast Correctional Facility so the local community can finally move forward with a resolution,” Moore said. “While the new facility won’t be to the scale of what DCF once was, it will once again provide an important service to our state and economy.”

DOC Commissioner Randall A. Liberty said it felt good to common ground with former DCF employees and lawmakers. “This new facility will keep alive the deeply rooted correctional tradition of the region,” he said.

Joshua Dall-Leighton is accused of sexually assaulting a female inmate in his charge at the Southern Maine Reentry Center in Alfred.

Joshua Dall-Leighton of Standish, who made headlines in 2015 when he donated a kidney to a woman who was looking for a donor, denies accusations that he had sexual encounters with a female inmate he supervised. 2015 Press Herald fileJoshua Dall-Leighton of Standish, who made headlines in 2015 when he donated a kidney to a woman who was looking for a donor, denies accusations that he had sexual encounters with a female inmate he supervised. 

A trial begins Monday for a former prison guard accused of repeatedly sexually assaulting a woman who was incarcerated at a transitional corrections facility in Alfred.

Joshua Dall-Leighton, 34, faces five charges of gross sexual assault and one of unlawful sexual contact. All are felonies, and he has pleaded not guilty.

Dall-Leighton received widespread media attention in June 2015 for donating a kidney to a woman who advertised her need for a new organ in the back window of her car. That gift of his kidney to a virtual stranger may play a role in his trial.

Among the motions filed in the case is a request by the state to keep that information from the jury. The defense objected, saying it was evidence of his character. It was not clear Friday how the judge had ruled on that motion and others.

The indictment states the alleged crimes took place on multiple days between December 2015 and February 2016. During that time, Dall-Leighton worked at a pre-release center for female inmates in Alfred, where the woman was finishing a prison sentence.

An affidavit filed in York County Superior Court by a Maine Department of Corrections detective describes alleged sexual encounters between the guard and the woman in a prison transport van. Dall-Leighton drove the van to take the woman to her workplace in Sanford, according to the affidavit.

The affidavit quoted a letter the woman wrote to a Bangor attorney describing the advances of an officer at the pre-release center. She said she eventually became intoxicated so she would be transferred from the Southern Maine Reentry Center in Alfred back to the Maine Correctional Facility in Windham to get away from him.

“I avoided sexual intercourse with this officer for some time but because of his position of power, and the many things I stood to lose, I felt pressured to engage,” she wrote. “This officer transported me to work several times per week and we were often alone while driving. I requested a job change, but was repeatedly denied. I felt I was in a no-win situation.”

Dall-Leighton stopped working at the pre-release center when he was charged, his defense lawyer told the Portland Press Herald at the time.

More than two years have passed since a York County grand jury indicted Dall-Leighton in November 2016. Neither the defense attorney nor the District Attorney’s Office returned a call for comment Friday.

The woman was convicted in January 2012 in Rockland of elevated aggravated assault, robbery and burglary. She was sentenced to 10 years in prison with all but six years suspended. Now 34 years old, she has been released and is on probation. The Portland Press Herald does not name the victims of alleged sex crimes without their consent.

She also filed a lawsuit in 2017 against Dall-Leighton, as well as the state and prison officials she said failed to protect her from the assaults. The former guard did not respond to the complaint, meaning he was in default. A federal judge then ordered him to pay $1.1 million to the former inmate, although it is not clear if he can or will pay that sum.

Ezra Willey, who represents the woman in the civil matter but does not have an active role in the criminal case, said he is pursuing options for his client to collect at least part of that award. The judge also dismissed the lawsuit against the state and the corrections officials, a decision Willey has appealed.

Willey credited the woman for coming forward with her allegations against Dall-Leighton and referenced the #MeToo movement that has shed light on sexual misconduct.

“She’s a recovery coach now,” he said. “She’s been speaking at different events about addiction. She’s really gotten out there in the community and is not only trying to help herself, but she’s really trying to help other people. I really admire her for that.”

Dear viewers,

None of the contributors to this blog write us for the purpose of ending up on the blog.  Although in the beginning (and next year the Political Prisoners Blog will be ten years old) we solicited and posted, anonymously, things written specifically for the blog, that isn’t necessarily so for all of our current inmate contributors.

Having had relationships with the current roster for over at least three years minimum, most of the entries that you’ll view these days are excerpts taken from personal correspondence between the inmates and the members of the project.  We let everyone know, early on, that excerpts of their letters to us may be used in the blog; far more remains un-posted.  Convicts in Maine, of course, have no way of viewing the blog, or of seeing responses posted to their entries, unless we forward them on.

Recently, Arline Lawless whose content has been featured in blog since January of 2016 was written up for posting to “social media,” referring to a Maine Department of Corrections ban on the same.  She was initially looking at a loss of earned good time, although presently she faces eight days of room restriction.

Unfortunately, until this issue is resolved you’ll be seeing no more contributions from Arline Lawless.

Sincerely,

The Holistic Recovery Project.

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Write to Arline via:

M.C.C. – Arline Lawless – MDOC #60057

17 Mallison Falls Road – Windham, Maine 04062

Richard Pickett said incarcerated women shouldn’t get free menstrual products. But basic medical care isn’t a perk—it’s a human right.

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Earlier this month legislators in Maine voted on a bill amendment that would guarantee incarcerated people access to menstrual products. It’s a good idea: While a federal lawensures that federal prisons offer free pads and tampons, that’s not the case at state and local facilities, where supplies are often limited and women are forced to either devise their own solutions or scrounge together funds to purchase the items at the commissary.

However, four Republicans balked at the proposal and voted against it. Here’s how state representative and Dixfield police chief Richard Pickett put it, according to a reporter who was on the scene: Incarcerated women shouldn’t get more access to menstrual products because “the jail system and the correctional system was never meant to be a country club.”

Alex Acquisto, a statehouse reporter for The Bangor Daily News, quoted Pickett in a tweet. Per Acquisto’s account, Pickett argued that women already have all the menstrual products they need.

“Quite frankly, and I don’t mean this in any disrespect, the jail system and the correctional system was never meant to be a country club…. [T]hey have a right to have these and they have them. If that wasn’t the case, then I would be supporting the motion, but they do,” Pickett said, as cited in a tweet from Acquisto.

According to the Press Herald, several jails in Maine already provide free menstrual products, but incarcerated women have to request them. The proposed legislation would make the pads and tampons more freely available, and there would be no limit on the number that women could have at one time.

Whitney Parrish, a director at the Maine Women’s Lobby, broke it down for critics, according to the Maine Beacon.

“You’re given a limited supply of menstrual products per month, often of low quality due to cost saving, and when you run out, you’re out…. You may have no money to go to the commissary, and if you do, you may have to weigh that purchase against other necessities, like making phone calls to your children or attorney. You are forced to make the impossible decision of constructing your own menstrual products, using anything from clothing or notebook paper in place of a tampon,” she said.

Luckily, most saw it as Parrish does. A 6-4 vote allowed the bill amendment to advance, proving that most people understand that basic women’s health care isn’t a luxe perk. It’s a human right.

Desiree Fischer, a med tech at the Androscoggin County Jail in Auburn, wheels a medication cart down the hall on Wednesday. Between 30 and 61 percent of Maine?s 1,774 county jail inmates were prescribed at least one psychiatric medication, according to a survey conducted by the Bangor Daily News in August (Troy R. Bennett | BDN).

STATEWIDE (BDN) — A Maine judge makes the unprecedented decision to forcibly medicate a murder suspect with antipsychotic drugs. A violent, severely mentally ill patient is shipped to state prison after twice attacking staff members at Riverview Psychiatric Center.

Now Gov. Paul LePage, besieged with troubles at Riverview, has plans to send even more violent patients to prison, and proposes to spend millions to convert the prison facility in Windham to house mentally ill inmates.

These headlines point to a much deeper crisis in Maine. After a well-intentioned move decades ago to shift the care of the mentally ill away from psychiatric institutions, many Mainers can’t find adequate care in their communities. They still end up institutionalized but now it’s behind bars.

The ranks of inmates taking psychiatric medications in Maine’s jails and prisons today once would have filled the state’s largest hospitals for the mentally ill.

Between 30 and 61 percent of Maine’s 1,774 county jail inmates were prescribed at least one psychiatric medication, according to a survey conducted by the Bangor Daily News in August. About a third of the 2,223 inmates in state prisons were taking drugs to manage their mental illness. At the Intensive Mental Health Unit at the state prison in Warren, all inmates were medicated at the time of the survey.

The figures are even higher at Maine’s now consolidated youth corrections facility. More than half of all juvenile offenders, or 79 of the 127, took medications. Many of them are at high risk of returning to the prison system as adults, still in need of mental health treatment.

As high as those percentages are, they underrepresent the real population of inmates with mental illness, because the figure is nearly impossible to nail down.

County jail and corrections officials broadly agree that the rising volume of mentally ill patients is untenable. But counting prescriptions offers only a point-in-time snapshot of the problem. It also fails to account for offenders who are undiagnosed or have mental illnesses that don’t require medication, or varying, facility-to-facility policies for dispensing medications.

Inmate advocates also contend that budget cuts have spurred jails and prisons to crack down on taxpayer-funded prescription drugs, leaving some prisoners unmedicated.

Penobscot County Sheriff Troy Morton said many of the people walking through his jail’s doors are undoubtedly experiencing a mental health crisis, whether they have an official diagnosis or not. The need burdens everyone it touches from the sick individual to the law enforcement official apprehending them, from the jail taking custody to the taxpayer picking up the tab.

“There was a day when if a person was on the street yelling and screaming, [police] didn’t know what to do with them, so they were charged with disorderly conduct, end of problem,” Morton said. “But it wasn’t the end of the problem. It was a temporary delay.”

A moving target

After an arrest, inmates typically are asked about their mental health. Most correctional facilities follow National Commission on Correctional Health Care guidelines for initial screenings, which include a questionnaire that asks about current medications and thoughts of suicide.

Jail and prison staff do not make decisions about medical care, including for mental health problems, Morton said. All correctional facilities contract out for those services.

“We are not doctors,” he said.

Screeners review the questionnaire, “triage it, and get them to a provider” if the inmate is on prescription medications when they enter jail, said Geoffrey Archambeau, CEO of Correctional Health Partners, a Denver, Colorado-based company that contracts with the Penobscot County Jail, the Kennebec County Jail and other facilities throughout the country.

If an undiagnosed person is in crisis, they are directed to a medical provider who can prescribe medications, if warranted, according to jail officials from across the state.

“Usually they have committed a crime due to not taking their medication,” Knox County Sheriff Donna Dennison said in an email.

One reason the state has no current count of inmates with mental health diagnoses is because “it’s not a searchable thing” since each jail uses a different computer management system, Archambeau said.

“Here’s the problem: Nobody has real numbers,” Morton said.

While the state has one centralized administrative system for all its facilities, called CORIS, it does not allow prison or Department of Corrections officials to query inmates’ mental health records because of medical privacy laws, according to Deputy Commissioner Jody Breton.

Only the department’s contracted medical provider, Correct Care Solutions, can search those records. John Newby, Correct Care regional vice president, found that in 2015, around 48 percent of juveniles and 34 percent of adult inmates were prescribed psych medications.

“For the State of Maine, we are actually below the national averages on prescribing of psychotropic medication,” Newby said in an email to Breton that she forwarded to the Bangor Daily News.

Many inmates diagnosed with mental illness also have developed drug dependency from “self-medicating,” according to Morton.

That often leaves jails serving as their region’s largest detox and mental illness crisis centers, he said.

“My question is: Is that what corrections is supposed to be about?” said Morton, who started as a corrections officer in 1988. “Is that really how we should be treating people with mental illness and substance abuse? To me, this is really an expensive way to do it.”

Cost pressures

Jails and prisons often fail to identify inmates with mental illness, according to an April 2014 report by two Texas doctors. Published in the American Journal of Public Health, the study examined a nationally representative sample of U.S. prisoners, finding that more than half who were taking medications for mental health conditions upon arrival failed to receive the drugs after incarceration.

“This lack of treatment continuity is partially attributable to screening procedures that do not result in treatment by a medical professional in prison,” the report states. “This treatment discontinuity has the potential to affect both recidivism and health care costs on release from prison.”

Joseph Jackson, who formed the Maine Prisoner Advocacy Coalition upon his release from prison two years ago, says many inmates go without drugs they need or receive “cheaper” substitutes.

When he was arrested for shooting another man in 1995 and locked up in county jail, Jackson was taking medication for depression.

“I was on one treatment going in and they got rid of that,” said Jackson, who was the triggerman in a drug-related slaying in Lewiston on Easter morning 20 years ago that left one man dead. “It doesn’t matter if you’ve been on one [prescription] for 20 years and it’s been working well. They say it’s because doctors on the outside are manipulated.”

When he was eventually convicted of manslaughter later that year, Jackson entered the state prison system. Again, his prescription for depression changed.

“They gave me amitriptyline,” Jackson said. “That is how, mostly, they dealt with us. They gave it away back then.”

But today, the cost of medications has changed how correctional facilities dispense them.

“It depends on what those pills cost,” said Jackson, who started a chapter of the NAACP and earned a college degree while behind bars. “They’re going to give you the cheapest pills.”

Providing substitute medications may help county and state pocketbooks, but Jackson describes that approach as an injustice against inmates.

At the Cumberland County Jail in Portland, inmates formerly received psychiatric medications upon request. But in 2011, the jail changed its policy “to only giving the medications when the inmate comes into the jail taking the medications and after being verified,” Cumberland County Sheriff Kevin Joyce said in a recent email. “Or, when the doctors and/or psychologist believes that the medication is necessary.”

That change saved the jail thousands of dollars per year on medication costs, he said. Other jails have instituted the same policy.

For his part, Archambeau, the medical contractor for the Penobscot County Jail, disputes the contention that cost drives decisions on which drugs are dispensed. PCJ spends about $40,000 a year close to 8 percent of its $525,000 annual medical budget on psychotropic medications.

Yet costs can vary by facility. What jail and prison leaders say they have in common is that they’re doing all they can to accommodate inmates with mental illness.

Capt. Jeff Chute, Androscoggin County Jail administrator, said he has witnessed the transformation of county jails over the years. He started in law enforcement in 1984, joining the jail in 1995.

“We are de facto mental health facilities,” Chute said. “Sometimes we’re there to stabilize them. In order to prevent recidivism, we try to get them back on their meds.”

The costs go beyond prescription drugs, according to Dennison, the Knox County sheriff. When hospitals are full, jail officials pull double duty.

“We have to have a guard sit one-on-one with this person,” Dennison said. “Sad situation all around, not only for mental health folks but also for jails and officers.”

Fewer beds

The housing of Maine’s mentally ill in correctional facilities may be making headlines today, but the problem dates back decades, according to Sharon Sprague, superintendent of Dorothea Dix Psychiatric Center in Bangor.

Many of the country’s psychiatric institutions downsized or closed starting in the 1950s, under a process known as deinstitutionalization. States intended to care for psychiatric patients in their local communities, but often failed to set up adequate services.

“When you consider we had 1,200 patients in 1970 and are down to 40 patients today, it says a lot,” Sprague said of Dorothea Dix, which opened in 1901 as the Eastern Maine Insane Hospital. “Our capacity, if we were to fill all the units, is 51. That has been a huge change.”

Riverview opened in 2004, replacing the Augusta Mental Health Institute, which began in 1840 as the Maine Insane Hospital. Riverview has dual roles: to treat violent offenders and to assess those charged with crimes to determine whether they understand the charges and are competent to stand trial.

Among the patients housed there today is Leroy Smith, who made headlines earlier this month after Kennebec County Superior Court Justice Donald Marden issued an order authorizing the state to medicate him for six months against his will in an attempt to restore his competency to stand trial.

Smith was charged on May 6, 2014, with killing and dismembering his father, 56-year-old Leroy Smith II, and initially was found not competent to stand trial. He is now receiving psychotropic medication and will return to court in April.

Meanwhile, Riverview is fighting a 2013 decertification for poor patient care, which resulted in $20 million in forfeited federal Medicaid funding.

LePage has said his plan to modify the Windham prison for mental health patients will help get Riverview recertified.

At its peak, Riverview had a capacity of 1,500.

Today, Maine has just a fraction of that number, with about 270 psychiatric beds statewide. Riverview accounts for 92 and Dorothea Dix has 51. The other 127 beds are split between Acadia Hospital in Bangor, Spring Harbor Hospital in Westbrook, and eight community hospitals that all limit patient stays to 30 days.

That’s rarely enough to accommodate the need, experts say, even with Spring Harbor planning to reopen a dozen psychiatric beds after the recent award of $420,000 in state money. Such shortages are a problem in Maine and throughout the country, said Jenna Mehnert, executive director of National Alliance on Mental Illness in Maine, who came to Maine after working in Pennsylvania and New York.

“There aren’t enough psychiatric beds. And sometimes when officers need to divert a person to the hospital there is no room, and they end up back on the streets in jail or the emergency room,” she said.

Just compare the number of people in mental health institutions back in the 1970s to the populations in homeless shelters today, said Shawn Yardley, Bangor’s former director of health and community services.

“It’s an incredible correlation it’s the same number of people. What we’ve done is move the need for that comprehensive service from mental institutions to homeless shelters, not very successfully and not in the best interest of anybody,” he said.

Changing philosophies

In the past, the philosophy in prisons was to keep inmates with mental illness quiet until they completed their sentence, according to Dr. Dan Bannish, a psychologist at the state prison’s Intensive Mental Health Unit. Now prisons are treating the illness, he said at the unit’s opening in February 2014.

“It’s not a hospital. It’s an intensive mental health unit,” Corrections Commissioner Joe Fitzpatrick said in December. “We really did want this for treatment purposes, not for management purposes. It’s a critical piece and it’s probably the most challenging piece.”

A total of 70 inmates 39 from the Department of Corrections, 29 referred by county jails from across the state, and two from Riverview had been treated in the unit as of the end of January.

The number of suicidal behaviors has dropped considerably and self-abusive incidents among inmates in the program have fallen dramatically, he said.

Maine’s county jails also have made changes.

Aroostook County has a mental health nurse practitioner to screen every inmate’s case, said Sheriff Darrell Crandall.

Penobscot County Jail works with Acadia Hospital, which provides clinical services, including two hours of psychiatric services, each week.

Cumberland County Jail has two social workers and Androscoggin County Jail added a full-time social worker who helps inmates transition back into society in an effort to prevent recidivism, Chute said.

“We had to give up some positions for that,” he said. “It was extremely necessary.”

Chute, Crandall and Morton said law enforcement officers also have learned new ways to deal with people suffering from mental health problems.

The Portland Police Department has developed a specialized behavioral health response program, employing a special liaison who goes out on calls whenever mental illness is identified. The liaison also follows up with patients, conducts referrals and serves as a conduit between the department and behavioral health providers.

Mehnert said other departments should follow Portland’s lead.

“We expect [law enforcement] to be social workers, and it’s really not fair, and when they fail we demonize them,” Mehnert said.

The National Alliance on Mental Illness Maine has spent years offering crisis intervention training to law enforcement and emergency responders from all over the state. Every police academy cadet in Maine also goes through that training, along with mental health first aid.

“A lot of this is educating the officers on the street trying to make sure [they can] identify if somebody is in mental health crisis or needs to be incarcerated for a crime,” Mehnert said. “I think that is a crucial thing.”

A smooth transition back into society is key to preventing criminals from reoffending, experts said. But those who are prescribed medication often struggle to pay for their drugs without a job or insurance coverage.

Most jails have transition programs in place, but funding for them often falls short of addressing the multiple factors that affect inmates’ success on the outside, Morton said.

“It’s crucial because if we only set up the mental health part of it, yet they don’t have housing, or they don’t have food or transportation, we’re setting them up for failure,” the Penobscot sheriff said.

“This is not a county jail issue,” Morton said. “It’s a societal issue.”

If you have…..

INTEGRITY  COURAGE  COMMITMENT

Let’s talk!!  The Department of Corrections is currently seeking applicants for Correctional Officers.  View a list of our current openings below or call (207) 287-4498 to find out how to join our team and begin an exciting career in Corrections!

Watch the video below to see what the job is all about and to find out what we’re looking for in applicants.  Do you have what it takes?

https://player.vimeo.com/video/82035562

Correctional Officers have many opportunities for career diversity and advancement.

Click here for more information.

If you are interested in a challenging career in the Maine Department of Corrections, the following positions are now open for recruitment.The links below will give you the job postings and information on how to apply.

Click here for medical, mental health and substance abuse opportunities

Paperwork to get the process started

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Correctional Trade Shop Supervisor

Job Class Code:  Grade: 18 Salary: $18.38-23.30Open: February 15, 2019Close: March 15, 2019

Location: Warren, Maine 04864

Job Category: *Open Competitive

Position Type: Full Time

Correctional Officer, Maine State Prison

Close: Once Filled

Location: Warren, Maine 04864

Job Category: Correctional Services

Position Type: Full Time

Correctional Plant Maintenance Engineer I

Close: Once Filled

Location: Warren, Maine 04864

Job Category: Engineering

Position Type: Full Time

Correctional Electrician II

Close: Once Filled

Location: Warren, Maine 04864

Job Category: Electrician

Position Type: Full Time

Correctional Officer Cook – Maine State Prison

Close: Once Filled

Location: Warren, Maine 04864

Job Category: Correctional Services

Position Type: Full Time

Correctional Officer Cook – Maine Correctional Center

Close: Once Filled

Location: Windham, Maine 04062

Job Category: Correctional Services

Position Type: Full Time

Corrections Officer, Maine Correctional Center

Close: Once Filled

Location: Windham, Maine 04062

Job Category: Correctional Services

Position Type: Full Time

Deputy Warden – Programs and Services

Close: March 1, 2019

Location: Warren, Maine 04864

Job Category: Correctional Services

Position Type: Full Time

Director of Security

Close: March 13, 2019

Location: Charleston, Maine 04422

Job Category: Correctional Services

Position Type: Full Time

Financial Analyst (PSC 1) Confidential

Close: Once Filled

Location: TBD, null null

Job Category: Accounting/Finance

Position Type: Part Time

Juvenile Program Worker, Long Creek Youth Development Center

Close: Once Filled

Location: South Portland, Maine 04106

Job Category: Correctional Services

Position Type: Full Time

Office Specialist I (2 Positions available)

Close: March 15 2019

Location: Windham, Maine 04062

Job Category: Administrative

Position Type: Full Time

Becoming a Correctional Officer

The Maine Department of Corrections is recruiting for tomorrow’s Correctional Leaders!  We are looking for ethical, dependable, career-oriented men and women.  We provide interesting, hands-on training to provide you with the skills and abilities you need to do your job effectively and ensure your professional success.  Correctional Officers attend a six-week training academy covering all aspects of correctional work.  Correctional Officers receive continuous reinforcement, which highlights the Department of Corrections’ Core Values – INTEGRITY, COURAGE, and COMMITMENT.

Benefits as a Correctional Officer

A career as a Correctional Officer offers competitive pay and benefits that include:

Requirements

MINIMUM QUALIFICATIONS

Age:  Applicants must be at least 18 years of age prior to date of hire.

Education:  Applicants must be a high school graduate or hold an equivalency certificate (GED).

Conduct:  Applicants must have no serious criminal or extensive motor vehicle records.  See Automatic Disqualifiers for details.

Physical:  Applicants must be in adequate physical condition to perform the duties of a Correctional Officer. A valid, State of Maine Driver’s License is required upon employment.

Hiring Process

  1. APPLICATION EVALUATION: Applications are reviewed to verify that each candidate meets the established Minimum Qualifications/Requirements. Applicants who do not meet these requirements are disqualified from further consideration.
  2. PHYSICAL AGILITY TEST (PAT):  Standards for successful completion of the PAT are available upon request.
  3. ORAL BOARD INTERVIEW: Applicants successfully meeting the Minimum Requirements and who have passed PAT will be scheduled for an Oral Board Interview. The Oral Board is a structured interview that evaluates applicants’ skills in the areas of Commitment & Independence; Judgment & Logic; Decision Making Decisiveness; Tact & Diplomacy; and Communication Skills. The Oral Board is a pass/fail component of the applicant process.
  4. BACKGROUND INVESTIGATION:  Applicants who successfully pass the Oral Board Interview will have a finger-print based criminal history record check along with a prior employment reference check.
  5. ALERT TEST: Applicants must pass the ALERT test prior to being hired as a Correctional Officer.  The Alert Test will be set up upon completion of all previous steps. This test must meet the Maine Criminal Justice Academy’s minimum passing score for entrance into basic corrections training. Test questions are multiple choice and fall within the categories of Writing Skills and Reading Comprehension.

You should be aware before starting the application process that the following are disqualifiers for this position.

If you:

  1. Have been convicted of murder or any crime classified in Maine law as a Class A, Class B, or Class C crime (i.e., any crime with a maximum term of imprisonment of one year or more), or of any substantially similar crime in another jurisdiction outside the State of Maine;
  2. Have been convicted of any crime classified in Maine law as a Class D crime (i.e., any crime with a maximum possible term of imprisonment of less than one year), or of any substantially similar crime in another jurisdiction outside the State of Maine;
  3. Have been convicted of any of the following provisions of the Maine Criminal Code (Title 17-A of the Maine Revised Statutes Annotated), or of any substantially similar crime in another jurisdiction outside the State of Maine;
    1. Theft, including, but not limited to: Theft by deception; Insurance deception; Theft by extortion; Theft of lost, mislaid or mistakenly delivered property; Theft of services; Theft by misapplication of property; Unauthorized use of property;
    2. Chapter 19, Falsification in Official Matters, including, but not limited to:  Perjury; False swearing; Unsworn falsification; Tampering with a witness, informant, juror, or victim; Falsifying physical evidence; Tampering with public records or information; Impersonating a public servant;
    3. Bribery and Corrupt Practices, including, but not limited to: Bribery in official and political matters; Improper influence; Improper compensation for past action; Improper gifts to public servants; Improper compensation for services; Purchase of public office; Official oppression; Misuse of information; or
    4. Chapter 45, Drugs, including, but not limited to: Unlawful or Aggravated trafficking in scheduled drugs; Unlawfully furnishing scheduled drugs; Unlawful possession of scheduled drugs; Acquiring drugs by deception; Stealing drugs; Cultivating marijuana; Illegal importation of scheduled drugs; Unlawful possession, unlawful trafficking, or unlawful furnishing of synthetic hallucinogenic drugs;
  4. Have engaged in any conduct described in paragraphs 1, 2, and/or 3, above;
  5. Have been convicted of any crime that is a violation of any domestic abuse law of any State or Federal jurisdiction;
  6. Have been convicted of operating under the influence (O.U.I.) of intoxicating liquor and/or drugs within the ten (10) years preceding the date of your application;
  7. Are currently abusing drugs or alcohol; or
  8. Falsify or misrepresent a material fact by signing this document, or when you are/were interviewed during the background investigation phase of the application process.

HOW TO APPLY:

We require the State of Maine Direct Hire Application and the DOC Supplemental Application.  Submit both to:

Department of Corrections Service Center
Attn: Clint Peebles, HR Recruiter
doc.jobs@maine.gov or fax to (207)287-4310

Or mail to:

Department of Corrections Service Center
Attn: Clint Peebles, HR Recruiter
25 Tyson Drive
SHS 111
Augusta, ME  04333-0111

In the list of Direct Hire Career Opportunities above, click on the YES in the “Supplemental Required” column.  Direct Hire Application Forms may also be obtained from the State Bureau of Human Resources, a local branch of the Maine Career Center, or any of our facilities.

For More Information – Thank you for considering a career with the Maine Department of Corrections.  For more information about the hiring process or about employment opportunities, please contact Clint Peebles at doc.jobs@maine.gov or (207)287-4498.

For all other Human Resources inquiries, please contact the Human Resource Business Partner below.

Mountain View Correctional Facility / Downeast Correctional Facility, Contact: Darlene Sage
Long Creek Youth Development Center, Contact Charlene Gamage
Maine Correctional Center/Southern Maine Reentry Center, Contact: Michelle Senence
Maine State Prison / Bolduc Correctional Facility, Contact: Jeanne Fales
Adult Community Corrections/Juvenile Community Corrections, Contact: Rhonda Hutchinson-Peaslee

Maine Department of Corrections, Come for the Job….Stay for the Challenge!

The Maine Department of Corrections is an Equal Employment Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer.  Women and minorities are encouraged to apply.  We provide reasonable accommodations to qualified individuals with disabilities upon request.

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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.

Only your vigilance on the outside can guarrentee that justice goes on on the inside.

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