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Official document reveals rampant corruption and low morale among the management and guards of Maine state prison

The following is a transcription of a document that was given to WRFR inmate correspondent Deane Rowland Brown by a prison guard in 2006, then brought out of the prison and published on WRFR's exiled Inmates website. This whistle blowing on the part of correspondent Brown >resulted in his being put into solitary confinement in the Maine Supermax, then exiled to series of Maryland state prisons, then a New Jersey Prison. This all in violation of both civil rights law and the Maine and United States Constitutions. On February 15, 2013, Deane Rowland Brown returned to Maine, using the Out of State Prisoner Policy 23.5 ending his 7 year exile

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Exit Interview Notes

Advancement opportunities:

1. Double Dipping

2. Help from above in promotions exceeds all the way to the Dep Wdn Level 3. Schedule limits choices (older officers won't give up their days off and shift)

4. Leadership abilities are in question as well as training that is not received.

5. People skills or lack thereof is important

6. Place a higher value on education when promoting, especially in the criminal justice field. These people have worked hard to get an education in the field that our environment is a major factor in. Encourage college degrees for promotional status in fact I would make it a requirement This shows that they have worked hard and show dedication to achieve a goal. What a concept?

7. Advancements are preset most of the time. Everyone knows that a Sgt will be taking a unit managers position in a unit soon or they at least believe this. This limits who applies because they don't want to waste their time. (This includes me)

Changes that could decrease turnover:

1. More money is obvious

2. New Atmosphere (cultural diversity) means new leadership that believes in new programs. Old leaders believe in old culture which is not officer friendly.

3. Pay less for insurance. Almost $500 per month for family.

4. Make Shift Commanders and sergeants build this team. Ensure unit team building. Get training on team building and ensure that it includes everyone

5. Get rid of the corruption
Kid System
Favoritism
Retaliation for reporting wrongs

6. Take promotions out of prison's hands

7. Open door policy to any deputy warden and especially the warden him/herself not just in words. Make yourselves available.

8. Have the leadership, (dep. wdn, and wdn) mandatory visits inside to speak with the officers and not prisoner. How many officer's names do the leadership know? How many officers under three years do they know? The officers don't need to feel uncomfortable when they are around.

9. Put more staff on. BCF ratio is 1:100+ at times. MSP 1:64 murderers, rapists, aggressive people at times. The officers are younger and younger and placed in this situation.

10. Lessen the mandates and overtime. Low pay forces overtime and burns out personnel, (common comment is that we are working overtime while the warden and deputy wardens are home having a drink).

11. Common perception is that the warden and deputy wardens just don't know the officers.

Compensation pay and benefits:

1. Pay is not that bad for this area but when you pay what we pay for insurance the pay is not good. Every time we get a raise they raise the insurance rates on the officers and staff. What picture does this paint? The pay is terrible when compared to others in our position but again the insurance brings it down even further.

Conditions of morale:

1.This the lowest I have seen the morale in my five years. As SOC I hear of more and more officers looking for employment elsewhere to include senior officers.

Differences between the new prison and the old prison:

1. Old prison was smaller and dirtier but more controlled. I am fairly new and did not spend much time at the old prison but it had its good points as well as bad. I like the new system and newer cleaner prison, older officers don't. The atmosphere for prisoners and staff is better although I believe one officer in a pod is not working for retention. Possibly limiting the time you can be in a pod may help retention some. Putting two officers in a pod would be the ideal setting for retention.

2. Still don't believe there are enough re-integration programs and this has a direct impact on how the prisoners treat and interact with the officer. What incentives to follow the rules do we have?

3. Still have prisoner and officers that are in the mindset of us vs them to the point that they cannot ask a prisoner to do anything. The officers believe that they have to be the authoritative man or woman and that is the only way to get things done. To be polite to a prisoner is to show weakness and be chastised by other officers.

Openness of communication:

1. There is no openness without retaliation.

2. There is no openness when leadership enter the prison because there is always a supervisor around.

3. Some Sergeants and even Captains have little openness with their staff although Sergeants have openness with their Captains but depending on the issue there are even retaliation moves against them.

4. Some supervisors have very little people skills and most of the staff questions why they were promoted.

Organizational policies and practices:

1. Policies as far as running the prison are just fine.

2. Polices as far as dealing with staff are questionable. Sick leave policies and disciplinary policies are not uniform. One officer gets this punishment and another gets none.

3. Most officers believe that they can do anything and the worse that can happen is a few day suspension which also will be suspended. Most officers do not believe they can be terminated.

4. The F-l 04 is a joke inside.

5. Revision of these disciplinary policies and uniformity of consequences would help not hinder the performance of officers.

6. Sgts are treated unequally depending on who it is being charged or the accusations that are made.

7. Captains are not permitted to take any action without first being approved by their boss which limits their ability to lead. I have personally heard captains being told to leave a certain issue alone or to take action against the reporter.

Perception of fairness in human resource policies:

1. Range qualification or not?

2. Discipline or not?

3. Can we improve the hiring practices?

4. Can anyone ever be terminated after probation?

Perception of fairness in supervision:

1. Everyone inside will tell you there is no fairness because the ones that are labeled kids can do no wrong.

2. There is no fairness with regards to officers,- sergeants or captains.

3. The fairness is different from shift to shift One shift gets this and the other shifts don't (moveteams?).

4. Look at the meals? 3rd shift gets squat

5. Security only seems to be an issue during the day. Again moveteams

6. One officer or sergeant gets one treatment and another gets a different treatment.

7. One officer can get any day he wants and another can't depending on who is your daddy.

Perception of growth opportunities within the prison:

1. Double dipping

2. Fairness of promotions

3. Schedule of promotions

4. Timeliness of promotions

5. Timeliness of bids and moving to bidded position.

6. ACA stipend?

7. Already know who administration wants and they will get the promotions. Last two sergeant boards are a good example of this. Everyone believes they know who the next Unit manager for SMU is going to be already.

Perception of management/supervision:

1. Main comment is that they don't care.

2. Prisoners come first. (?) Don't take anything away from the prisoners!

3. As stated earlier the officers work while the leadership goes home. (Fact)

4. 1 unit manager doesn't run his unit, 1 unit manager is nicknamed the "ghost" because he is never there. 1 unit manager is respected and puts his time in. (?)

5. A deputy warden puts kitchen staff and prisoners way above the line staff and security. There is a feud between the kitchen staff and security especially when security does its job, (?)

6. Warden is not told everything and some captains and sergeants have been instructed to stay away from him without first getting clearance from another deputy warden, (fact)

7. Perception is that the warden does not have a clue as to what is going on inside this prison and his leadership ability is being questioned. If he does know what is going on he doesn't care, (perception)

8. A deputy warden has something on the warden because he is still here and does anything he wants no matter what it is. (perception)

9. A deputy warden is the most corrupt, sometimes described as evil, person in the prison, even worse than most of the prisoners. (?)

10. Security takes a backseat to many things, (perception)

11. The administration will do whatever they want to do and whenever they want to do it and the officers don't matter, the policies don't matter and for heavens sake don't take anything away from the prisoners, (perception/fact?)

12. An audit needs to be done on the kitchen supplies and the kitchen manager needs to be terminated. This comes from the cooks themselves. (perception)

13. Kitchen supervision treats prisoners better than officers and gives inferior food to officers, (fact) State law that was repealed keeps coming up.

14. Certain staff assigned to one post are placed in positions that should be bid tying up security positions and bypassing the bidding process. This is done so that their "kids" can get better positions because they are not as qualified as others. (fact) With more pay !!

15. Sergeants who were bad officers have been promoted because they were helped by their "dad" and have become worse supervisors. They treat officers unfairly and unequal. Once you are a sergeant the administration will not demote you because it means that they would have to admit that they have made a mistake. (fact) And again once you are off of probation there is no way you will be demoted.

16. Officers are retaliated against for complaining about their supervisors because nothing gets done and they have to go back to the same unit to work under the same supervisor that they complained about. (fact)

17. Some Sergeants cannot distinguish between officer and supervisor, (fact)

18. Some sergeants cannot write complete and concise reports because of their lack of education, They were promoted because they were someone's kid. (fact)

19. Some captains should never have been promoted due to lack of people skills, knowledge and lack of leadership skills. They were promoted because they were a captain or deputy warden's kid and eventually will become the sacrificial offering when the shit hits the fan. (?)

20. Certain Shift Commanders are not able or invited to attend certain meetings because the administration is afraid of their input and knowledge. Not all shift commanders are treated equal.

21. Some sergeants don't know policy and therefore have to make their own which are in direct violation of department policies. UM spoke to a sergeant about this and nothing has changed.

22. Sergeants have been counseled for wrongful acts and continue doing the same and worse. They are counseled a second time and continue to do the same. They continue to do the acts for a third time and the officers just quit reporting it because of the retaliation they receive. These officers are looking for new jobs. (fact)

23. Depending on who your parents are determines what if anything will be done to you therefore it eventually determines what will be reported. Eventually nothing! (F104 is used and these are useless) Retaliation in this case is obvious. (fact)

24. Nepotism is rampant in the Maine State Prison and direct violation of the state's policy on nepotism. Do you want to discipline a deputy wardens son or captains son and then work with that deputy warden or captain?

25. Supervisors argue with each other in front of their staff. (fact)

Wow huh? That is a lot so far! Only a few subcategories left! Are you sure that you want to continue?

Positive and negative aspects of the job:

1. This is not a manual labor job, It is relatively easy once you get to know the prisoners.

2. You have some officers that make the job easier because of the way they accept and help you.

3. You have other officers that make the job harder because of the way they talk about the job and turnover.

4. You definitely have job security.

5. Benefits are good but you pay too much for them.

6. Not everyone gets the weekend or part of it. This is hard lot family men and hard on their families.

7. You are always worrying about being mandated when you get towards the top of the list which is a mental drain. You worry about this for an entire shift.

8. You worry about your relationship with your supervisor and more importantly whether his kids will screw you.

9. Housing units are the least liked area to work. Move teams are the best area to work. Housing units do not get appropriate breaks and see very little of other officers throughout the day.

10. You are locked in a pod with 64 prisoners and have very little contact with any other officers for 8.5 16 hours. When you begin to talk to prisoners you are labeled an inmate lover and chastised for it. Do you have a choice?

11. It is much cleaner than Thomaston and therefore healthier for prisoners and staff.

12. There is a different way of doing things for each different supervisor.

13. Your paycheck is there every two weeks.

14. Time off is excellent and available most of the time.

15. With seniority you can move around to different positions in the prison and have an opportunity to go to BCF. When the jobs are bid and when you are permitted to move.

16. If you have a problem with a supervisor you may have an opportunity to take a bid where you can try another. Problem is that good supervisors usually have very little room, (not always the case)

17. Overall the staff here at MSP is great! They are each individuals by themselves but when something happens it is awesome to see them come together and get through the incident.

18. Staff would rather leave than to help correct the problems. I believe this is in part because nothing has gotten better for them since we have moved here.

19. Negative environment to begin with and some older staff present more negativity than newer staff; making it seem worse than it really is. There is nothing you can do to the negative officer.

20. Very little OJT time. 2-4 weeks would be terrific. OJT trainers need to be picked using a method that takes away the kid system.

21. Just because you have been here 20 years doesn't mean that you have been doing it right for 20 years. New culture/New ideas/New people!

Reasons for leaving the prison:

I have high aspirations and this to me is a promotion. I am looking to climb the administrative ladder here in the DOC and want to know every aspect that I can learn about every department I can gain experience with. I have worked a minimum security facility, maximum security facility, medium unit, close unit, security operations, and now probation and parole.

I will be honest and tell you that from what I have experienced in the SOC office that I would have left the DOC all together if I did not get this promotion. I would not have been here by May of 2007. I have almost 12 years in criminal justice and know to expect some level of incompetence and corruption but I never imagined the level I would experience here. I consider myself to be an honest person and actually have trouble with dishonesty and unfair treatment of good people.

I honestly hope to return to MSP in a capacity to make positive change at a later time. As I have stated the staff here is extremely good. I think with a slight change in leadership they could be the best in the nation. This is not to say that all of the leadership is not right for the prison. I believe that there are leaders in our administration that have the right beliefs and ideas to help this organization progress into the future. I believe with program development the prison could become the benchmark for the nation and leaders that believe in these types of ideas are the leaders of our future. It takes the right leaders and programs to make a prison work well and as we have proven it can operate inefficiently ineffectively with any type of leader. We have a mix of leaders some terrific and some horrific. Everyone wants to weed out all of the leadership and I disagree. We have problems that can be fixed.

Training opportunities:

The training opportunities have been extremely limited because of financial obligations. I attained my training and schooling from other departments and on my own in some cases. Education is not taken serious enough in this department and should be since trained and educated people are the leaders of tomorrow. A college education should be rewarded and a requirement for promotions. Training has improved since ACA and availability is now the issue. You can learn new and better ideas from others and education is the avenue that works best

Workload:

1. This is not a physically demanding job but mentally it will wear you down.

2. Working for 8.5 hours and wondering if you will be mandated in your last hour of work is mentally draining. Knowing that you are going to be in the same pod without breaks for 16+ hours is just wrong. Would the administration be willing to do this?

3. Placing an 18 year old or 19 years old person in a pod with 64 sentenced criminals is just not conducive to a good retention rate. Add in the negativity of older officers and this makes it even harder to retain officers. We lose good officers for poor reasons.

4. This is not a job for everyone and even some that would excel here are tempted by private industry's pay and benefits as well as the lessened mental stress this job entails.

5. Although we have opportunities to move around we still deal with the same supervisors at the captain level and above as well as the same unfairness throughout the prison.

6. This job gives someone a great opportunity to help someone else. I mean the prisoners. If the officers were encouraged to do this more and chastised for not doing it the relationship between the prisoners and staff would improve.

7. Older staff still have older ideas and older ideas did not and do not work We have an opportunity to bring in new staff and implement the new ideas. Retaining these officers is key to the departments success in achieving their goals.

END