Institutional problems that plague Maine’s prisons
"Institutional Problems that Plague Maine's Prisons"
I have been incarcerated at Maine State Prison since August/2009. At that time, Maine's population was 95% white which culminated the Department of Corrections systemic racism by whom it employs (98% white folk; majority males) The Department's personnel, which effects each and all facility's demographic, is lacking diversity. This is evident in the lack of cultural awareness and racial and religious tolerance in the daily and ongoing interactions between staff (especially "security") and prisoners. Effective communication has not been recognized and incorporated into the initial and/or periodic staff training as a required skillset.
Next, the Department's onus to have an internal process to appropriately provide Administrative relief (a "Grievance" procedure) is ineffective and insufficient due to inefficiencies. Most importantly, the Department has appointed a Grievance Review Officer whom is a 35+ year senior employee. There is no committee of arbitrators which would be most appropriate in 'objectively' assessing each matter independently and pursuant to Departmental policy. Less than 5% of all grievances are resolved favorably, few or ever deemed valid, and most (near 50%) are dismissed. Ironically, the Grievance Review Officer (Wendell Atkinson) is also the ACA coordinator; which is not coincidental, as it is the designee whom oversees the facility's compliance with ACA standards in preparation of on-site tours, audits and evaluations.
Also, the Disciplinary Hearing Process is protected by the Constitutional safeguards that entitle prisoners to Due Process of Law both Procedurally and Substantively. The Hearings themselves are not held in a timely fashion, transpire without proper notice to the prisoner and fail to follow the mandatory guidelines as described by Departmental policy. The Hearing Officer is not fair, consistent and is extremely prejudicial and punitively excessive. Finally, monetary sanctions amongs others imposed upon 'findings of guilt' are commonly disproportionate and excessive.
Above-mentioned are only a few of many problems I have either witnessed and/or experienced during the duration of my confinement. I have litigated multiple law suits in both local state and federal courts seeking redress of violations of both my civil and constitutional rights. Members of the public are welcomed to correspond with me at:
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