Bill seeks solitary confinement limits in Maine

Posted Jan. 22, 2010, at 6:06 a.m.
Last modified Jan. 30, 2011, at 11:48 a.m.

AUGUSTA, Maine — Civil libertarians, church groups and psychologists are calling for passage of a bill that would impose new restrictions on the use of solitary confinement in Maine prisons.

Rep. James Schatz’s bill seeks to limit solitary confinement of prisoners to 45 consecutive days before a review process with legal representation for the prisoner must be held.

Supporters of the Blue Hill Democrat’s bill said Thursday that extended solitary confinement causes psychological harm and violates constitutional prohibitions against cruel and unusual punishment. Schatz said there are cases in which prisoners have been held in solitary for over 12 months.

A committee hearing is scheduled for Feb. 17.