Could Maine set a new standard on restricting solitary confinment in prison? One lobbyist on the issue is Robert King, who for nearly 30 years, spent 23 hours of every day locked up in a small, windowless cell in Louisiana's infamous Angola Prison for a crime he did not commit. For many in long-term solitary confinement, the isolation is mind-bending – even tortuous, he said at the Maine State House, reports the Bangor Daily News
Today, Maine lawmakers will begin probing the legal justifications and ethical questions surrounding long-term imprisonment in solitary confines. A bill under consideration would not prohibit the state from isolating prisoners for even months or years at a time. It would restrict stays in solitary lasting longer than 45 days to prisoners who “committed or attempted to commit a sexual assault, an escape from confinement, or an act of violence.” The bill has support from a broad coalition of civil rights, religious, and medical groups.