Inmate files suit for tossed mail
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
594-4401 ext. 118
Juliette primarily covers the cops and courts beat for The Courier-Gazette.