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Maine Lawmaker Seeks to Restore State's Parole System
03/22/2013 03:16 PM ET  

Maine did away with its parole system in 1976, and Sen. John Tuttle, a Sanford Democrat, says it's time to bring it back.

Maine lawmakers today heard testimony on a bill that would re-establish the state's parole system. Maine did away with parole in 1976. The bill's sponsor, Democratic Sen. John Tuttle, of Sanford, says that was a mistake.

"I believe that people are capable of changing," Tuttle told members of the Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee. "If we can work with people and encourage them to have some kind of training and to have hope, it would be better than giving them $50 and a pat on the back and sending them out on the street."

Under Tuttle's bill, LD 873, a prisoner would be eligible to go before a parole board midway through a sentence. If parole is granted, the former prisoner would be required to meet certain criteria, such as abstaining from alcohol, for example. Parolees would also be required to get a job and a community sponsor.

Parolees who fail to comply with requirements or commit new crimes could sent back to jail - in some cases without a trial.

The bill applies to sentences for convictions after Oct. 1 of this year.

A.J. Higgins and Susan Sharon contributed to reporting this story.



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