Producer/Host: Amy Browne
Topic: LD 1611: “An Act To Ensure Humane Treatment for Special Management Prisoners”
As we’ve reported previously on RadioActive, State Representative Jim Schatz (D-Blue Hill) has introduced legislation that is aimed at reducing abuses of solitary confinement in Maine’s prisons. Today we take a closer look at the legislation, the reasons it was proposed, and why it has drawn widespread support from a growing, diverse coalition of groups & individuals in the state.
Prisoners on the Special Management Units, or SMU, spend 23-24 hours per day in solitary confinement. LD 1611 “An Act To Ensure Humane Treatment for Special Management Prisoners”, would, if passed, do several things to reduce abuses on the SMU’s in Maine’s prisons. It would protect severely mentally ill prisoners from being placed there, require the discharge of those who develop major mental illnesses while in solitary, restrict the use of restraints, chemical agents and other corporal punishment, require a system of reviews— and a need for justification for long-term placement on the SMU, and prevent prison officials from transferring prisoners out of state if they were to be placed in prisons that still allow such abuses.
Guests: Emily Posner, Mainers Against the Abuse of Solitary Confinement, www.maineprisonproject.org
Reverend Stan Moody, former state legislator, former chaplain at the Special Management Unit, or SMU at Maine State Prison. He’s the author of “Crisis in Evangelical Scholarship” and “McChurched: 300 Million Served and Still Hungry”, and author of several articles about his experiences there, that have been published in Village Soup. He currently serves as pastor at the Meeting House Church in Manchester. FMI: www.stanmoody.com & www.villagesoup.com
Alysia Melnick, Maine Civil Liberties Union FMI: www.mclu.org
Sheila Comerford, Executive Director, Maine Psychological Association
Link to text of LD 1611:www.mainelegislature.org/LawMakerWeb/summary.asp?ID=280035042