Plan To Ship Maine Inmates To Oklahoma Draws Criticism

Sunday, April 15th 2007, 1:53 pm
By: News On 6

PORTLAND, Maine (AP) -- A plan to ship 125 Maine inmates to a privately owned prison in Oklahoma is coming under fire from civil rights groups and defense lawyers. The transfers are among a series of moves intended to ease overcrowding in Maine's correctional system. Other measures include the opening of an empty unit at the Charleston Correctional Facility and the leasing of cell space in four county jails with
excess capacity.

Officials estimate that sending 125 medium-security inmates out-of-state would save Maine about $1 million a year over the cost of boarding them in county jails. The Oklahoma prison is owned by Corrections Corporation of America, the nation's
largest private prison company.

Critics say sending prisoners far from home would cut off community support and hamper their ability to pursue legal appeals.