Chances are that every single person knows someone who has been, or is incarcerated. Prison affects people from every walk of life and our society as a whole. By raising awareness we can begin to provide support for the families and friends of those in prison and hopefully raise awareness to the general population that the old saying of "Lock them up and throw away the key" mentality does not work in today's society.
Some of Maine CURE'S goals are:
Believing that every prisoner is a human being and having the mindset that people CAN change is one of the biggest reasons that ME CURE IS A PROUD SPONSOR OF:
Community Corrections...The Positive Reentry Program (The Citizen's Initiative)
As a representative of Maine CURE, it is my desire to not only help point the prisoner to the appropriate organization when they are in need of support on the inside, but to help those that they have left here on the outside locate the resources that they are in need of to meet their daily living needs.
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As a visitor at M.S.P. it seems as if the rules of acceptable attire are always changing depending on the staff that you are dealing with, and this can create hostility and much unneeded stress to both the prisoner and visitor. I would like to see consistency with the rules of appropriate attire; one person is allowed in with a certain shirt on, but at a later visit another person wearing the exact shirt as the previous visitor is not allowed in and they are turned away; often times people travel a great distance to visit their loved ones and go inside expecting to visit only to be turned away because the C.O. at the desk has made the decision himself regarding the "inappropriate attire" It should not be up to the C.O. manning the desk, but from the regulation book that every visitor must abide by. You have the right to request to speak to the shift commander and present your argument and let him/her make that decision. We understand the reason for the rules and regulations at the M.D.O.C. facilities, we just think that consistency needs to remain intact at all times regardless of who the visitor is or the prisoner that they are there to see.
Sentencing needs to be restructured and updated to meet the needs of the world we live in today, not the world as it used to be. There are currently and have been alternative sentencing options that could be used to meet the crime per individual as not all prisoners react the same way to the same punishment. It costs over $50,000 a year to house 1 inmate when all factors are considered according to the Vera Institute of Justice study performed in 2012. As prisoners age the cost becomes much more as their needs become much greater, with the aging population rising rather rapidly due to judges handing out much longer sentences, the costs to keep the aging imprisoned is going to bankrupt America. Studies show that the recidivism rate for inmates over the age of 50 severely declines, shouldn't alternate sentencing be looked at to reduce some of the outrageous costs? Did you know that someone who commits murder has likely never been in trouble with the law before and will never commit another crime?
Strengthening of prisoner/family ties:
We believe that it is important for both the prisoner and their families /loved ones to maintain interaction and communication while incarcerated. Being part of a family; a mommy, a daddy, cousin,a daughter or a son doesn't stop while serving a sentence, but it surely limits the level of involvement the prisoner and those whom they have left behind can maintain due to the constant changing of the rules. Those prisoners who have a solid support system have the ability to achieve a much better transition back into society upon release as a result of many different variables, but the bottom line is they all have SUPPORT.
Wouldn't it be wonderful if one day there could be snack machines in the visit room where a parent could share this simple bonding experience with their child? Often times the most important discussions take place around a dinner table offering comfort, support and acceptance. Is it just me, or do we agree that when children grow up with acceptance, encouragement and support they have a much better chance of believing in themselves and become well rounded productive citizen's of society possibly breaking the cycle of incarceration? Often times when family and loved ones go to the facilities to visit they are disrespected from the minute that they enter the facility from the C.O's who forget that we are human beings who are there to visit another human being and we just want to be treated with the same respect that we show to them.We do understand that the prisoner is serving his/her punishment in the D.O.C. facility, but when visitors are constantly being made to jump through ever changing hurdles, it creates difficult barriors for families or other loved ones which then lead to the prisoner having very limited if any involvement with the outside community. It is the intention of Me CURE to continue work with the Department of Corrections to improve the quality of prisoner visits.Positive family ties are crucial to a prisoners success upon release.
A chance for the offender and victim (s) and their loved ones to meet if that is something that is agreed upon by both parties. It has been said that in order to fully heal, let go and be able to move on, one must first forgive.If we can promote this within the system, the victim will become able to release the power hold that the crime and perpetrator still has upon them which will then enable and empower both the victim and the perpetrator to move on with their lives. With that being said, I would like to stress that although the prisoner/perpetrator is serving or has served their sentence for the crime they were accused and convicted of, most of them do live with guilt EVERYDAY and that will never go away.
Increase in EDUCATION and JOB TRAINING:
We want to make sure that when a prisoner is released back into society that they have skills to enable them to become successful, productive and tax contributing citizens within their chosen communities, helping to reduce the recidivism rates. The public doesn't get to fully understand why a prisoner gets out and then ends up re offending, which is often times because the prisoner is released back into society with no resources for the basic essentials such as food and shelter, the prisoner ends up back in the system as a survival mechanism because it is what they know. When 1 prisoner re offends and 10 prisoners succeed, we hear about the re offender rather than the success stories and this gives the public the mentality that no one in prison should get out because they have not and cannot change. We believe that a person can change and it all starts with education on the very first day that a prisoner enters the DOC. In reality, for any kind of change to happen one must have a plan, Right? In reality inside the Maine Department of Corrections when the prisoner is doing time, there is really not an individualized plan put into effect for a smooth transition back into society until quite close to a prisoner's release date.ME CURE believes that because every prisoner is 1 person and that person is unique, the needs of all prisoner's should finitely be addressed as part of the prisoner's Care Plan from day 1 and everyday there after.