Department of Corrections Commissioner Liberty joins us to discuss the pressing issues facing Maine's prison system. As Commissioner, he has stated that recidivism is one of his top priorities, as is prisoner re-entry into society. We will also discuss juvenile justice, women prisoners, solitary confinement, and how he plans to address mental health and substance use issues among prisoners and staff.

Guest: Commissioner Randy Liberty has more than 36 years of leadership experience in the fields of corrections and law enforcement, having served as the Warden of the  Maine State Prison since 2015. Prior to that, he served more than 26 years in the Kennebec County Sheriff’s Office, nine as the elected sheriff, during which time he focused on drug enforcement, drug abuse education and treatment of addiction.

Rebecca Conley / Maine Public

There are currently about 2,500 people in Maine’s prison system, and the majority of those who are incarcerated will eventually be released. Each individual is then tasked with looking for a job, finding a place to live and finding health care, all on a truncated timeline. Several factors—like the case worker assigned to an ex-prisoner, family and resources on the outside—impact whether or not someone may be successful.

Life After Prison: Insights From Ex-Prisoners

Jun 19, 2018
Rebecca Conley / Maine Public

What happens after a person is released from prison in Maine? Are there services and support available? How does someone transition back into society? We hear from those who have made the transition, or are in the process of making it, and learn about the challenges they have faced--and what they feel is most needed.

Several Maine District Attorney’s offices say they’ll stop using a private prisoner-transport company after an investigation by the Lewiston Sun-Journal into allegations by a Lewiston woman, who was being brought from Florida to Auburn to face probation violation, that the company seriously mistreated her during the ride.

Susan Sharon / MPBN

Inmates at the Maine State Prison in Warren and the Maine Correctional Center in Windham have a new resource to help them maintain their sobriety: their peers. 

AUGUSTA, Maine — Maine Department of Corrections officials did not attend a public hearing on proposed new rules governing discipline policy on Monday in Augusta. They say they have been advised by the attorney general's office not to answer questions while the rulemaking process is underway.

Civil liberties groups and advocates say the rules are unconstitutional and will isolate prisoners and exacerbate discipline problems.

AUGUSTA, Maine — Civil liberties groups and other advocates are calling on the state to withdraw or rewrite proposed changes to prison discipline policies that came under fire at a public hearing in Augusta Monday morning.

AUGUSTA, Maine — Monday morning the Maine Department of Corrections will hold a public hearing on a series of proposed changes to the prison disciplinary policy that advocates and former inmates say are sweeping in nature and raise First Amendment and other concerns.

The DOC is also considering making changes to the little known prison furlough policy.

Life Behind Bars

Jun 10, 2015

We speak with a former prison guard and a former prison inmate about what life is like behind bars.

BANGOR, Maine (AP) _ The former manager of a Chinese restaurant in Brewer has been sentenced to 15 months in prison for hiring workers that were in the U.S. illegally.

Mei Ya Zhang of Waterville was also ordered Tuesday in federal court in Bangor to pay $88,000 in restitution to the IRS.

The 29-year-old Zhang pleaded guilty last year to charges including "harboring undocumented aliens," money laundering and conspiracy to file false tax returns.

Mugshots for Randall Daluz and Nicholas Sexton
Penobscot County Sheriff/Chris Sweet/MPBN

PORTLAND, Maine (AP) _ The trial of two men accused of killing three Maine residents whose bodies were found in a burning car is set to open in Bangor.

Randall Daluz and Nicholas Sexton are charged in Penobscot County with three counts of murder and one count of starting a fire with the intent to destroy property. Jury selection begins Monday.

Authorities have said the victims were shot before the car was torched Aug. 13, 2012, amid a drug dispute.

  Does punishment work? From child rearing, to schools and into adulthood, should we rethink how - and why- we punish?

Host Keith Shortall was joined by 

Chiara Liberatore with Maine Inside Out

Dr.T. Richard Snyder, Chair of the Restorative Justice Institute of Maine 

Rep. Mark Dion, former Cumberland County Sheriff