Maine’s prisons are more crowded over the past year because more people are committing serious crimes, says a new study reported by the Kennebec Journal. Mark Rubin of the University of Southern Maine, said Maine’s seven adult prisons held 2,161 inmates on Oct. 15, 138 more people than last year. Nearly 200 judges, prosecutors, defense attorneys, county commissioners, sheriffs, and legislators discussed prison and jail overcrowdidng at a summit yesterday.
Superior Court Justice Nancy Mills told the summit that “if you build the prisons and add more prison beds, the judges here will fill them.” She asked for creative ways — such as the special court she heads for offenders with mental illness and substance abuse problems — to help people get treatment, avoid serving long sentences, and not endanger the public. “An 80 percent recidivism rate is pretty bad,” she said.