ACLU of Maine Condemns New DOC Rules
Severe Restrictions on Communication are Unconstitutional and Damaging
AUGUSTA – The ACLU of Maine today submitted comments to the Department of Corrections (DOC) condemning proposed rules that would ban several First Amendment-protected activities, such as writing to a pen pal. In addition to its concerns over the unconstitutional rules, the ACLU of Maine noted that the DOC failed to give the public adequate notice of the rulemaking process.
The ACLU of Maine urged the Department to withdraw the proposed rules, or to substantially modify them before putting them into effect.
According to the ACLU of Maine’s comments, “These new disciplinary rules will have a negative effect on the ability of prisoners to communicate and interact with the world outside of prison. The rules will prevent prisoners from establishing new relationships or strengthening existing relationships, and they will undermine prisoner’s ability to access information and to access the justice system.
“Taken together, these rules will damage the rehabilitative mission of the Department of Corrections. Almost every Maine prisoner will someday be released from prison, and the sorts of people they are when they are released is dependent on how they are treated when they are in prison. Strengthening ties to the community is the number one way to prevent prisoners from reoffending, yet these rules will weaken ties between prisoners and the community.”
The full text of the comments can be found online at: http://www.aclumaine.org/media/1077
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The American Civil Liberties Union is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties guaranteed to every person in this country by the Constitution and laws of the United States of America.