ME Mentally Ill Inmates In “Devastating” Solitary


Maine submits both male and female mentally ill inmates to psychologically devastating solitary confinement, reports the Portland Phoenix. Solitary confinement is deemed torture by a growing number of critics within the state and nationally. The Cumberland County Jail in Portland keeps a half-dozen or so prisoners in true solitary confinement. They are let out for an hour's exercise each day. It also has 24 cells from which prisoners are let out for four hours a day, one for exercise and three in a “day room.” The jail has a restraint chair and is buying another (portable) one – another increasingly discredited form of prisoner control.

And at least at one point the Cumberland County Jail used a restraint bed. “I was laying on my back for weeks at a time,” says Theresa Wooding, 29, recalling her experience tied down on the bed in 2007. Every two hours she was allowed to walk a little or go to the bathroom, but after being released from the bed she didn't regain proper feeling in her legs for months, she says. With a long history of mental illness including bipolar disorder, Wooding says the restraint-bed experience made her mental condition worse. Wooding was put in restraints because of her suicidal tendencies, to which she readily admits.

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