Each Friday, we’ll bring you updates on the latest civil liberties news from Maine and the nation.
Our Voting Rights Champion, Ann Luther:
Last night, the ACLU of Maine awarded Ann Luther the 2013 Baldwin Award at our Annual Meeting at the University of Maine in Orono. Secretary of State Matt Dunlap, a 2007 Baldwin Honoree, introduced Ann stating, “It has been almost 100 years that women have had the right to vote. My grandmother and great grandmother marched for suffrage, were jailed. It’s hard to contemplate today. You tell school kids this and they’re like, ‘What? What are you talking about?’ The right to vote is not something that we can simply enshrine in a Constitution or write into a statute and then say, ‘Now we’re done.’ It requires constant vigilance.” Thank you Ann for your vigilance defense of voters rights in Maine. You can listen to Ann’s acceptance speech here.
ACLU launches “Prison Profiteers”:
There is a lot of money in mass incarceration. In partnership with the Nation and Beyond Bars, the ACLU has started a video series that profiles the companies and individuals that are profiting off of locking people up behind bars.
The first video released is about Global Tel-Link – a for-profit prison phone company that gets away with charging extreme rates to prisoners and their families. This means that prisoners are unable to afford calling home often, or even at all. Prisoners are charged up to $17 for a 15-minute phone call – a call that might cost $2 outside of prison. The second video is about Corizon Prison Health Management, our country’s largest prison healthcare company. Corizon skimps on proper treatment of inmates, motivated by its bottom line. In Maine, Corizon has been sited for serious deficiencies outlined in the Legislature’s Office of Program Evaluation and Government Accountability report in 2010.
A letter to the President: Shut down Guantánamo
With a coalition of human rights groups, the ACLU sent a letter to President Obama on Monday night urging him to close down the detention facility at Guantánamo Bay. On Tuesday, the Obama administration announced that it had chosen Paul Lewis to serve as the special envoy at the Defense Department for the closure of the facility.