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Stan Moody

1434 Ohio St. Bangor, ME 04401 607-3055

Stan Moody, founder of Maine Prison Chaplaincy Corps, is a former Maine State Representative and most recently a Chaplain at Maine State Prison in WarrenDr. Moody is pastor of the Meeting House Church in Manchester, advisory board member of Solitary Watch and has been a speaker on human rights issuesHis articles on prison reform may be read at

Were the Department of Corrections, and Were Here to Help! July 24, 2012 On July 1, 2009, the Maine Department of Corrections (DOC), under the authority of the legislature, kicked off its scheme to reduce overcrowding at Maine State Prison pay the county jails $22.50 a night for transfers from state facilities that cost taxpayers over $400 a night. The consolidation was to be placed under a new State entity, the Board of Corrections (BOC). Under the Baldacci administration, DOC upper management had such a vice grip on the legislative oversight committee that members have not yet stopped congratulating themselves for this stroke of genius. Every thorny issue that comes before the committee is referred back to this board. Yet, a quick look at the BOC meeting minutes in its first couple of years suggests that members could not get to the rest room without a staff escort. Defending the Indefensible: Committees created to reform corrections invariably are hamstrung by DOC staff members whose mission it is to defend the indefensible with reams of policies and numbers that offer 90 logical reasons why something cannot be done. The objective of the scheme, dubbed One Maine, One System, was to manage jail crowding through cooperation1. The Bangor Daily News has declared it a mess2. In reality, it was a friendly deflection of responsibility. County governments, having been looking over their shoulders for signs of their own obsolescence, were too quick to sign on in fear that the State might come in and take them over anyway. Not only were DOC officials understating their own per-prisoner costs by nearly half, their track record in running prisons has been abysmal. 2 Ibid.

White Hats to the Rescue: Enter DOC Commissioner Joe Ponte and Two Bridges Regional Jail administrator, Mark Westrum both with high marks. Ponte commissioner, stand-up guy, sole department spokesperson, believer in tried and tested doubledippers, eternal optimist and now featured speaker at prison reform conferences insists that this is only a start-up glitch: a multimillion-dollar company, so to speak, thats struggling to get its feet on the ground and establish itself 3. Microsoft-like spin on the gulag! Westrum, who was appointed chair of the Board of Corrections, put his finger on the problem when he stated, The whole system is predicated on flagship jails. When one flagship jail lowers its flag, like Somerset County did, it throws the whole system into absolute chaos4. Another analogy might be the proverbial house of cards. Power to the People: What the legislative creators of this mess failed to recognize was something that often eludes politicians the people. It began with Waldo County treasurer, David Parkman, declaring the BOC to be dysfunctional at a July 13, 2010 treasurers meeting. More ink was spilled in a BDN letter on Oct. 8, 2010, as Parkman called the BOC incompetent and arrogant. One by one, sheriffs getting ready for re-election begin paring back their jails to stop the bleeding. The State reimbursement being $180 a night below cost, the way to save the county money, apparently, is to withhold beds from the BOC. The irony is that the BOC has no authority to overrule the sheriffs. Checkmate! The taxpayers of Somerset County, says Sheriff Barry Delong, are getting totally screwed. Follow the Money: So there you have it! The federal government, running out of money, helps us out by shifting its financial burdens down to the states. The states, in turn, help us by shifting their burdens down to the counties, whereupon the counties send the bill to the property tax payer, who, in all likelihood, is too busy working to grasp the minutia of a corrections budget well in excess of $300M. Once in awhile, leaders like Sheriff Delong of Somerset County get it. Passing the buck over peoples lives is cynical beyond despair. As the BOC gropes for a way to bring Sheriff Delong to bay at their August meeting and thus save face, their time might better be spent throwing open the windows and begin focusing on reform and reentry that seeks collaboration with community leaders. My money is on the guy closest to the people the sheriff!
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Ibid. Ibid.