Inmate files suit for tossed mail

By Juliette Laaka | Jul 31, 2014
Courtesy of: Knox County Jail Stafford Goodman

Bangor — A Maine State Prison inmate filed a complaint in U.S District Court July 8, contending his civil rights are violated by a policy that commands mail room employees at the prison to dispose of personal mail written on colored paper.

Stafford Goodman, 27, of Biddeford was sentenced in December 2013 to serve five years in prison for trafficking drugs. He said his mail is being destroyed without his consent and without his receiving copies of the letters.

The complaint names Warden Rodney Bouffard and a mail room employee as defendants.

The policy, adopted May 5, instructs employees to destroy of personal mail on colored paper, including drawings. The correspondences are disposed of, and prisoners are notified, said a memo sent to inmates, instructing prisoners to notify their family and friends of the change.

The memo stated there is no change in policy regarding business, government and commercial mail.

Scott Fish, Department of Corrections spokesperson, said the policy was adopted because Suboxone strips were being colored and then placed on the paper or stationary and delivered to inmates.

To disrupt the potential drug smuggling opportunity, personal correspondence letters written on colored paper will be photocopied, then given to inmates. The originals are destroyed, Fish said.

The policy was altered so that letters were photocopied, and rightfully so, said Fish, as some letters were initially thrown away without the inmate receiving the message even if it was not suspicious.

Courier Publications' reporter Juliette Laaka can be reached at 594-4401 ext. 118 or via email at jlaaka@villagesoup.com.

Comments (3)
Posted by: Jim Gamage | Aug 02, 2014 10:32

Here is an idea.  Instead of picking up weights, try picking up a book.  Instead of thinking about how to get one over on the guards or the system, how about thinking about how to improve your life, how to get a JOB, pay taxes, volunteer and to become a better neighbor, parent or son/daughter.  Instead of being sneaky try being proactive, write letters of apology instead of receiving letters with drugs or money.  In other words, be a man, take responsibility for actions and learn from your mistakes.  Simply put GROW UP!



Posted by: Francis Mazzeo, Jr. | Aug 01, 2014 14:22

I agree with you Catherine. Somebody is doing this or that to them. They put themselves there and it shouldn't be the law abiding citizens that have to pay for their frivolous law suits. Hopefully when he gets out he'll head back to Biddeford to continue his seedy life style.



Posted by: Catherine L Leonard | Jul 31, 2014 17:43

It really makes me ugly that you can commit crimes and then sue because your rights are violated.  Our tax dollars pays to house these people who break the laws and then we have to pay for their attorneys and court fees to top it off.  They have a right to medical attention. Do we?? They are guaranteed 3 square meals a day. Are we???A clean dry place to sleep is given. Is it given to us???It sickens me when prisoners cry foul!!



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Juliette Laaka
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Juliette primarily covers the cops and courts beat for The Courier-Gazette.

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