Supporting Inmates and Families Through Incarceration
By, Maine-Wabanaki REACH
As part of our vision toward Restorative Justice, Maine-Wabanaki REACH leads circles in Maine prisons for native inmates, providing inmates with the tools for self-care and healing and helping to bring ceremony and connection to our incarcerated relatives. We recognize the importance of maintaining connection and regularly send our newsletter and forgiveness cards to native inmates in Maine State prisons.*
Through this work, we have learned a lot about the Maine corrections system and how to support inmates and their families and wanted to share some of our insight.
- Regardless of the circumstances of the incarceration, it is a painful and confusing experience for loved ones, especially for children. Caregivers agree it is best to talk openly to children about incarceration and there are many resources that help guide that conversation and provide ways to support children. The Sesame Project provides a free tool-kit of videos, games and books to help children through this difficult time http://www.sesamestreet.org/toolkits/incarceration.
- When inmates stay connected to their family, friends and even pen pals, they are more likely to participate in healing and educational programs while incarcerated and are more successful at re-entry.
- Letters and cards can provide an emotional lifeline and inmates can receive mail wherever they are housed. When sending mail to an inmate, to ensure smooth delivery, make sure to write the inmates first and last name, their inmate number if known, and include a return name and address.
- In-person visits and phone calls have a positive impact on how well the inmate fares in prison or jail. Each correctional facility has different rules and processes for visits and phone calls, many require multiple steps and phone calls are usually costly. You will need to contact the prison or jail directly to find out what their process is.
- When inmates feel better about themselves, they are more able to focus on their own healing. Through an account established at the prison or jail, inmates can purchase simple comforts like personal hygiene items, snacks and magazines which can make a big difference in their mindset and self-esteem. Adding money to their account is a great way to show you care. Each facility has a different process for how to add money so contact the prison or jail directly to ask about their process.
- The Maine State Prison system’s website http://maine.gov/corrections provides contact information for each facility and a way to search the database of adult inmates to see their offenses, sentence, inmate number and where they are housed. Here is the complete list of prisons:
- Bolduc Correctional Facility 516 Cushing Road, Warren ME 04864 273-2036
- Mountain View Correctional Facility 1202 Dover Road Charleston, ME 04422 285-0800
- Downeast Correctional Facility 64 Base Road Machiasport, ME 04655 255-1100
- Maine Correctional Center 17 Mallison Falls Road Windham, ME 04062 893-7000
- Maine State Prison 807 Cushing Road Warren, ME 04864 273-5300
- So Maine Women’s Reentry Center 230 River Road, Windham, ME 04062 893-7178
- The County Jail information system is not coordinated and not all of the Jails have websites to provide information, but they all have phone numbers. Here are the county jails closest to Tribal communities:
- Aroostook County Jail 15 Broadway, Houlton, ME 04730 532-7317
- Washington County Jail 83 Court St, Machias, ME 04654 255-3434
- Penobscot County Jail 85 Hammond St, Bangor ME 04401 922-3898
* If your Native loved one is incarcerated in a Maine County Jail or another facility out of State and would like to receive REACH correspondence, please message us and we will add them to our mailing list.