The Coastal Packet: New censorship planned for Maine prisoners

Tuesday, October 20

New censorship planned for Maine prisoners

MPBN- Sweeping rule changes proposed by the Maine Department of Corrections are raising alarm bells for advocates, former inmates and others familiar with prison policy.

Included on the list of changes are rules that would prohibit prisoners from soliciting or communicating with a pen pal, publishing a byline or "acting as an agent of the news media."

Critics say the proposed rules are Draconian and raise free speech issues.

The Maine Department of Corrections has declined to discuss the proposed rules while they are under consideration, so it's unclear what prompted them or how they reduce recidivism.

That's a guiding principle of the Maine DOC — to use evidence-based practices and interventions that help prevent inmates from re-offending. But members of the Maine Prisoner Advocacy Coalition and others say these changes appear to do the opposite by trying to cut off certain communication and further isolating inmates.

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