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The Maine State Prison System

The prison system in Maine is part of the more extensive criminal justice system in the state. The Maine criminal justice system comprises law enforcement, the state’s judicial branch, and the Maine Department of Corrections. The Department of Corrections (DOC) has three divisions in the state. It is responsible for overseeing all operations relating to the punishment and rehabilitation of individuals who have faced criminal convictions. The Department of Corrections’ purpose is to lessen the likelihood of inmates reoffending once released by providing services and accountability practices.

What is the Difference Between Jail and Prison in Maine?

In Maine, jail refers to a facility that holds individuals who have been charged with a crime but are still awaiting trial. Jail is also used for individuals convicted or charged with minor crimes. Local law enforcement has jurisdiction over jails in each respective county, and the sheriff has custody of all inmates. The standard duration of stay for most people held in county jail is less than a year.

Maine prisons are facilities that house individuals convicted of serious crimes or felonies. These facilities are larger with heavier security and more staff. Prisons in Maine fall under the jurisdiction of the Department of Corrections and the Federal Bureau of Prisons, rather than the local law enforcement. Suppose a law enforcement officer stops an individual. If the officer has reason to believe that the individual has committed a crime, the officer may issue a summons or bring the individual to jail pending trial. At trial, a judge will pronounce the defendant either guilty or not guilty. If not-guilty, the defendant is released from custody. If guilty, the judge states where the offender shall be housed. If the conviction is for a severe offense, the offender will serve time in prison. If the conviction is for a minor crime or misdemeanor, there may be minimal jail time for the offender.

How Many Prisons are in Maine?

In Maine, there are six adult correctional facilities and one juvenile correctional facility. The facilities’ security levels vary. Community security is the lowest custody level afforded to inmates, followed by minimum security, medium security, and close security, which is the most restrictive level. The following is a list of all Maine correctional facilities and the level of security on which the facility operates, if available:

  • Bolduc Correctional Facility: Minimum, Community
  • Maine State Prison: Close, Medium, Special Management
  • Mountain View Correctional Facility: Medium, Minimum, Men’sMen’s Community Custody
  • Maine Correctional Center: Close, Medium, Minimum
  • Women’sWomen’s Center: Close, Community, Minimum, Medium
  • Southern Maine Women’sWomen’s Reentry Center: Community, Minimum
  • Long Creek Youth Development Center

How do I search for an Inmate in Maine State Prison?

Members of the public have the right to search for and view information regarding inmates housed in Maine correctional facilities. The state offers a search service for adults who are incarcerated or on probation. The Adult Prisoner/Probationer Search Service is an online database updated daily that provides free searches to public residents. The state defines a prisoner as an adult who is housed in a correctional facility and any individual under the jurisdiction of the Maine Department of Corrections. For the database, a probationer is an adult on probationary supervision or community supervision. Members of the public cannot access juvenile inmate records without a court order.

Individuals who wish to obtain inmate information can also inquire with the facility of interest. The regulations for disclosing inmate information vary between facilities. The Maine Department of Corrections website offers the contact information for all prisons in the state.

Are Incarceration Records Public in Maine?

Yes, incarceration records in Maine are considered public records. Incarceration records include all information regarding an inmate who has spent time in a Maine correctional facility, including jails.

Records that are considered public may be accessible from some third-party websites. These websites often make searching simpler, as they are not limited by geographic location, and search engines on these sites may help when starting a search for a specific or multiple records. To begin using such a search engine on a third-party or government website, interested parties usually must provide:

  • The name of the person involved in the record, unless said person is a juvenile
  • The location or assumed location of the record or person involved. This includes information such as the city, county, or state that person resides in or was accused in.

Third-party sites are independent from government sources, and are not sponsored by these government agencies. Because of this, record availability on third-party sites may vary.

How to Look Up Jail Records in Maine?

All jail history, arrest records, and criminal history records are all considered public. Interested individuals can access this information free of charge. The Maine Department of Corrections website offers the contact information for all prisons in the state. Maine county jails and state prisons often provide an online search tool to find inmate information. Interested parties can also contact jails by telephone or through U.S. standard mail. The information included in Maine’s public criminal history records is public. However, according to Maine Rev. Stat. tit. 16, § 703, the state deems certain information within records confidential, including:

  • Information regarding arrest and summons with no pending charges or trial
  • Documents that show that the case was not further pursued by law enforcement or prosecutors, and therefore did not go to trial
  • Records showing that proceedings have been dismissed or postponed due to the mental state of the individual
  • Criminal charges filed over one year ago
  • Criminal proceedings that the court has dismissed or declared a mistrial
  • Acquittals, not including an insanity plea
  • Pardons

Can Jail Records be Expunged in Maine?

Maine statutes do not allow for adult criminal record expungement.

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