Our View: Free up prison space by incarcerating fewer Maine women

Article here. Excerpt:

'If prison overcrowding were the problem, then acquiring more space could be the answer.

But when it comes to Maine’s female prison population, overcrowding isn’t the problem – it’s only a symptom. The question is not, “Where do we put all these inmates?” but, “Why do we have so many?”

The number of women held at Maine Correctional Center in Windham has risen from only 25 in 2002 to 135 in 2016 to more than 220 as of April, largely fueled by the opioid epidemic and an overly punitive criminal justice system.

As such, the women’s side of the prison is overcrowded, with cots shoved into every open space. About half of the women are there for drug crimes, and most are victims of domestic violence and/or sexual assault, yet prison officials say there is no room for programming to help them deal with substance abuse or trauma, or to gain skills and coping mechanisms to use to better their lives.'

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Let more men go free and you have more room for female prisoners.

Overcrowding happens because traditionally women don't get arrested or jailed. That's likely increasing because women are now committing more crimes. That means there's not enough room because they didn't build enough for the increased rate of crime among women.

With men, it's different. With an increase, they just build more jails. But with women, they just let more go free. Cause, you know, women are special.

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