During the holidays I often find myself thinking of the prisoners spending this time locked up and away from family and friends. While sometimes it's easy for people not to care about the health and welfare of prisoners, it is good to remember first and foremost that all people deserve to be treated humanely. But secondly, that almost all Maine prisoners will, at some point, return to our communities.
There has been alot of talk lately about bringing private prisons to Maine or allowing for shipment of prisoners out of state. Both very very bad ideas.
Coverage in MPBN and the Phoenix highlight the many significant problems related to private prisons. Not the least of which is lack of state oversight and likelihood of human rights abuses.
As stated by the Sun Journal, “Mention prisons and you will quickly hear someone say, ‘lock 'em up, throw away the key and let them eat gruel.’ The reality, however, is that prison sentences do end. When they do, men and women often return to their former homes and communities. That means prison may be the only chance we have to turn a criminal into a contributing member of society....The ultimate goal...must not be simply warehousing people as cheaply as possible. The long-range savings is found in returning people to the streets with better social and occupational skills."