Friday, May 26, 2017

Maine: 17 Commutations of Sentence

McClatchy report Gov. Paul LePage has granted "conditional commutation orders for 17 prisoners through a plan that he says will help offenders get jobs and won't threaten public safety." The idea is applauded by the ACLU of Maine and "state prisoner advocates."

Some Republicans see it as a "soft on crime" ploy and "part of an effort to close a long-embattled Washington County minimum-security prison." McClatchy reports:
Alison Beyea, executive director of the ACLU of Maine, called LePage's decision "a positive step toward ending Maine's over-reliance on incarceration." Her group notes that census figures show that Maine's state prison population has increased nearly 300 percent since 1980, while the overall state population has grown 18 percent. "In Maine, like the rest of the nation, we lock up too many people for too long, at too great a human and fiscal cost," she said. She added, "in order for this effort to be truly successful though, we will need a thoughtful plan to ensure formerly incarcerated people can successfully transition back to society." That means more job training and education, she said, as well as "finding employers who are willing to hire people once they are released." 
See story here.

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