April 6, 2010
Today the House and Senate voted for final passage of an amended version of LD 1611, “An Act to Ensure Humane Treatment for Special Management Unit Prisoners.” The amended version directs the Commissioner of Corrections to review due process and policies related to placement of prisoners in solitary confinement. Roll calls on the bill held late Monday afternoon were 74-68 in favor on the House side and 18 to 15 in favor on the Senate side. The House roll call in favor of final passage today was 78 to 67.
“Today was a moral victory for those concerned about human rights and security at the Maine State Prison, but much work needs to be done to resolve the excessive use of solitary confinement there,” said Shenna Bellows, Executive Director of the Maine Civil Liberties Union. “The Department of Corrections has an opportunity to reduce the use of solitary confinement and to pay special attention to mentally ill prisoners for whom solitary confinement is equivalent to torture.”
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