Anti-torture bill backed by State House leadership

Representative Jim Schatz (D-Blue Hill) has gotten seven of the 10 members of legislative leadership to back his proposal to tightly restrict the usage of solitary confinement in Maine's prisons. We have been writing about abuse of Maine prisoners at the hands of Maine guards and corrections officials for four years; mentally ill inmates are particularly harmed by these practices.

We wrote about it after he submitted it, but it has since gone through and will be taken up by the Criminal Justice Committee in January.

Here is the summary of the bill: 


LR: 2289          Sponsor: Representative Schatz of Blue Hill

Title:     Resolve, To Reduce the Use and Abuse of Solitary Confinement

This resolve would require the Department of Corrections to amend its policies to provide that a prisoner may not remain confined in a special management unit for more than 45 days unless it is established at a hearing that the prisoner within the previous 45 days, while incarcerated, committed or attempted to commit: an act of violence that resulted in serious injury to another or death; an act in connection with sexual assault; or an escape or attempted escape from within a security perimeter or custody. This resolve would provide procedural safeguards for such a hearing. It also would prohibit the placement of a prisoner with a serious mental illness in a special management unit and limit the use of restraints in such a unit.

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