Earlier OPEGA reports
SOLITARY CONFINEMENT AT MSP DROPS by 75%.
Read the story of solitary confinement reformer Bonnie Kerness, by Lance Tapley of the Portland Phoenix
OPTIMISM OVER NEW HEALTH CARE PROVIDER
ENDING EXILE. On Thanksgiving Day 2011, Mainer prison inmate Arthur Belanger met with his family at Maine state prison's meeting hall. He was the first exiled Mainer prisoner to be returned under the May 17,2011 Out of State Inmate Return Policy 23.5 . The policy was drafted by Ron Huber of Maine Prisoner Advocacy Coalition MPAC, and DOC Commissioner Ponte's staff.
This policy initiative followed the Maine Legislature's Committee on Criminal Justice and Public Safety vote rejecting LD 690. An Act To Amend the Laws Governing the Transfer of Prisoners to Other States. Drafted by Ron Huber of MPAC, the bill would have put a
one year limit on the length of time a Maine prisoner may be kept out of Maine's correctional system involuntarily, and set up an appeal process. (Listen to hearings and worksessions on LD 690 and other 2011 prison reform bills, Click Here)
SOLITARY CONFINEMENT DROPS IN 2011 & 2012. Maine Department of Corrections Chief Ponte responds to a critical report from OPEGA and radically reforms its solitary confinement "segregation" practices at its Special Management Unit (SMU), reducing the inmate population by more than 75% . Deputy Warden Charlie Charlton told the BDN that he SMU had been used for decades as a punishment device. But under the new system, “Segregation should be about safety, not about punishment,” Charlton said. “We really got back to looking at the safety piece. Nationwide in corrections, many departments are looking at the very same thing.” See June 15 2012 article in Lewiston Sun-Journal for more details. Read the illuminating November 2011 interview of DOC Commissioner Joseph Ponte by Portland Phoenix writer Lance Tapley.
NEW HEALTH CARE PROVIDER SPARKS OPTIMISM. There has been a switch in medical service providers to inmates of Maine State corrections facilities. Dropped is much-complained-about Corizon and newly hired Correct Care Solutions CCS is on the job. MPAC expresses "cautious optimism" in its June 14, 2012 media release.
EXILED INMATE-REPORTER STILL ADRIFT IN 2012. WRFR Community Radio Prison News reporter-inmate Deane Rowland Brown was exiled from the state of Maine in 2006 by now-disgraced former Maine State Prison Warden Jeffrey Merrill, after Brown exposed corruption and mismanagement of the prison to investigative journalists Lance Tapley of the Portland Phoenix and Ron Huber of
WRFR LPFM Community Radio in Rockland.
Sentenced in March 1996 to 59 years in prison for burglary crimes committed in his native Maine, Brown has no history of violence before or during incarceration,. He was nonetheless exiled by now-ousted Warden Jeffrey Merrill, who declared Brown the "most dangerous man in Maine state prison" after Brown began a regular weekly radio report on WRFR Community Radio, and released a harshly critical statement by a retiring prison sergeant that revealed patterns of corruption and patronage
pressuring the prison to reform its prisoner punishment policies. (Scroll down this page for links to brown's activities as inmate correspondent.)
Brown is said to be presently applying for return to Maine State Prison from New Jersey, pursuant to Policy 23.5 .
Abruptly shipped from there to the Maryland Correctional Adjustment Center in Baltimore, he languished in solitary confinement for a year before being transferred, then with little warning, to the Western Correctional Institute in Cumberland, Maryland in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains. A year later, off to the "UltraMax" Northbranch Correctional Institute , part of the same prison complex . Northbranch however, is an Ultra Max facility, ostensibly there to isolate gang leaders and those who assault guards / other inmates. (Since being moved there, Brown has already been assaulted).
In late 2010, Brown was moved again, to the Garden State's notorious New Jersey State Prison in Trenton, NJ.
As of July 3, 2012, he remains there. How a non violent inmate from Maine has come to be dumped into a succession of "worst of the worst" hellholes defies understanding.
Deane R. Brown
New Jersey State Prison
PO Box 861
Trenton NJ 08625
Maine State Prison investigated by OPEGA - Read June 2009 report here (6 pg pdf) . Listen to a story about the OPEGA report on Maine Public Radio News
Tapley on Mass Torture in America (including Maine)
September 2007 Update 9/26/07: Writer Lance Tapley excoriates Baldacci Administration for willfully ducking responsibility for human rights violations in Brown's Maryland prison cell.
9/12/07. Prison Rewards exiled hero-inmate with a stab in the back!
To and from WRFR Community radio and Maine Prison officials.
From Exiled Deane R. Brown
August 14, 2007. "This place has reclassified me from medium custody to maximum, meaning that I belong and must be kept with the absolute worst of the worst. But why? To shut me up and to punish me,that's why. "
June 17, 2007 "There are so many people supporting me to win this battle --so many who will see a better day if I win..."