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UPDATE: Conditional Commutations Will Allow Individuals Re-Entry to Maine Workforce
May 23, 2017
**UPDATE: The Governor granted conditional commutation orders for 17 individuals on Friday, May 26, 2017.
These are not commutations; they are conditional commutations. For details, see the release below, which we sent out on Tuesday.**
For Immediate Release: Tuesday, May 23, 2017
Contact: Adrienne Bennett, Press Secretary, 207-287-2531
AUGUSTA – As part of the LePage Administration’s comprehensive approach to modernize and improve the Maine State Prison system, Governor Paul R. LePage has begun the process to grant conditional commutation orders for individuals deemed to be lower-risk offenders to allow them to re-enter the workforce.
The Department of Corrections (DOC) has begun the process of submitting recommendations to the Governor for conditional commutations that will provide inmates from throughout the Maine State Prison System with pathways to employment.
Designed for individuals considered by DOC to be lower-risk offenders, the administration’s system-wide approach incentivizes a structured, successful re-entry into the community and integration into Maine’s workforce. Individuals who are granted these conditional commutations are subject to stringent conditions that will provide them with appropriate supervision and treatment, as well as terms for potential revocation, as deemed necessary by the Department of Corrections. Each conditional commutation plan will reflect the supervision and treatment needs of each individual.
The terms of the conditional commutations are restrictive. Individuals must agree to:
- Refrain from all criminal conduct;
- Report to the assigned Probation Office within 24 hours of release from incarceration;
- Actively pursue and maintain approved employment, or devote yourself to an approved employment or education program;
- Not possess or use any unlawful drugs, alcohol, firearm or dangerous weapon;
- Identify your supervised status to any law enforcement officer, if you are arrested, detained or questioned for any reason and notify your probation officer of that contact within 24 hours;
- Submit to random search and testing of residence, motor vehicle or person for drugs, alcohol, firearms or dangerous weapons;
- Complete evaluation, counseling and treatment for substance abuse, as directed by your probation officer;
- Abide by a curfew from 8:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m., except for employment purposes with permission from your probation officer;
- Waive extradition to the State of Maine from any State of the United States, the District of Columbia or any other jurisdiction to answer any charges of violating one or more of the conditions contained in (1) through (8) above; and
- Agree to abide by each of the foregoing conditions contained in (1) through (9) above.
“These conditional commutations are a part of a system-wide approach to a fiscally responsible corrections department that is committed to transitioning low-risk offenders into jobs and self-sufficiency,” said Governor LePage. “As these individuals reintegrate into the community, they will help build our workforce and fill positions that have been sitting vacant. The Departments of Corrections and Labor will work with offenders and employers to ensure these individuals are provided with the information, support and resources to put them on a path to succeed.”
Securing employment after incarceration is an important step in a former inmate's reintegration into society. However, experts say it is frequently one of the most difficult tasks for former offenders to accomplish. Building the bridge to post-incarceration employment involves not only helping individuals learn how to talk with prospective employers about their past experiences, but also educating employers about how to tap this underutilized labor pool and access incentives, such as free fidelity bonds and tax credits, that lessen the risk of hiring someone with a criminal history. The Maine Department of Labor is ready to assist employers interested in exploring these workforce options.
The Maine State Prison system is undergoing multiple efforts to modernize and improve programs and facilities, including a new treatment facility and the reorganization of educational programs for juveniles. Governor LePage led the creation of a 200-bed treatment facility for offenders addicted to drugs, including the first beds specifically for women. The beds will be created in a newly expanded and renovated, statewide correctional facility in Windham.
Governor LePage cut $30 million from the cost of the project by reducing the footprint of the new facility and renovating existing structures, rather than constructing more new buildings, in order to ensure that it could be done within the budget.