In Rebuttal, G. Dunne: The underlying problem

While there is little doubt that Maine's mental health system is in serious need of reform, housing difficult patients in the Maine State Prison is not the solution (editorial, Sept. 15: "Riverview’s most dangerous patients must be moved").

The criminal justice and mental health systems are separate entities and should remain that way. Those found “not criminally responsible” or “incompetent to stand trial” have been declared legally unfit for the criminal justice system and do not belong in prison. While housing them in a new unit might “provide better support for control,” it would ultimately fail to address the underlying problem: Maine is not adequately addressing the needs of many mental health patients.

The fact that some Riverview forensic patients commit violence while there should not be taken as a call to imprison more people, but as a grave reminder of how desperate the need for reform is. While recent events at Riverview have highlighted significant problems, we must resist the temptation to turn to the prison to solve those much more complex problems. Doing so not only fails to address the needs of the most vulnerable patients, but will also create greater costs down the line for the state and communities.

Grainne Dunne, Portland, Justice Organizer at the ACLU of Maine

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ERNEST LABBE's picture

Wow Ron

being such a super cop the municipality you were employed by they must have begged you not to retire. In the 68 years I have been on this planet it has been my perception that those who don't brag about their accomplishments are the true accomplishers.?

As for my accomplishments I was a Sgt E5 in the Me National guard, a dealership parts manager at three dealerships, and a driver of brown delivery trucks for thirty plus years. Nothing to brag about just my background.

Now back to what started all these ranting's of yours. Who would take employment at a vocation where they were in harms way during their entire shift without any way to defend themselves from sometimes violent people,
a situation where the offenders have more civil rights than the employees ?

I hope you enjoy this beautiful fall day, I plan to.

RONALD RIML's picture

I see rather than answer me so that I would be notified -

You merely inserted your 'Super Cop' remark at the top of the list.

I have to disagree with your statement that you have nothing to brag about concerning your background. You're an obvious 'Overachiever.' I lamped you best for a career E-2 Mentality; E-3 at most. Congratulations on making E-5, and bearing the heavy and awesome responsibility of 'Parts Manager' at three dealerships. I thank you on behalf of a grateful Nation and the Auto Industry.

ERNEST LABBE's picture

I ask you

I ask you Grainne Dunne to please submit you application for employment at Riverview.

RONALD RIML's picture

Ernest, Don't tell me you're the Personnel Director at Riverside

Psychiatric Center now and you're soliciting employment applications.

Or you're Bat-Shidt Crazy and you simply imagine you are.

JOANNE MOORE's picture

At least........

... he is consistent. : )

ERNEST LABBE's picture

Or you're Bat-Shidt Crazy and you simply imagine you are.

Ron I often wonder why liberals such as your self have to turn to name calling, insulting, degrading remarks about others when you disagree with their opinion.

No I an not the HR manager for Riverview not do I want to be. However I would challenge any person with common sense to apply for employment there with no means of protection from some of the violent patients. These violent people are not there because they picked flowers from someone's garden. They are there because they were found "not guilty by reason of insanity" for the heinous crimes they committed.

Ron look in the mirror perhaps you were talking to yourself when you made that comment.

RONALD RIML's picture

It was you who started that 'Name Calling' - Ernest

Implying that the ACLU was 'Ignorant' and should turn in a 'Job Application' to learn what was going on behind those walls at Riverside.

But who's the 'Ignorant' one, Ernest? You don't imagine the ACLU has a clue? Guess again. But rather than merely 'Guess' - perform a bit of research - that's what the Internet allows one to do - if they have a bit of intellectual curiousity.

The ACLU has long been involved in protecting the Constitutional Rights of both Prisoners and those committed to mental health facilities.

I draw your attention to the following:

American Civil Liberties Union National Prison Project (ACLU)

Founded in 1972 by the American Civil Liberties Union, the National Prison Project seeks to create constitutional conditions of confinement and strengthen prisoners’ rights through class action litigation and public education. Our policy priorities include reducing prison overcrowding, improving prisoner medical care, eliminating violence and maltreatment in prisons and jails, and minimizing the reliance on incarceration as a criminal justice sanction. The Project also publishes a semi-annual Journal, coordinates a nationwide network of litigators, conducts training and public education conferences, and provides expert advice and technical assistance to local community groups and lawyers throughout the country.

Medical Care in Prison


Ernest - When the Government doesn't afford Prisoners the Constitutional Rights they are entitles to - it is the ACLU who hauls their ass (The State) into Federal Court. It's not a pretty picture for those who violate others' Rights. The ACLU knows their business, believe me.

- You are the one who needs Job Apps - certainly not the ACLU - they've been around the block a good many times on this. And have the Court Victories to vouch for it.

But what would I know - I'm only a retired Cop - and an ACLU member......

ERNEST LABBE's picture

Name calling again Ron?

Name calling again Ron? Really you can't present an argument without name calling? I'm glad your a retired cop, thank you for your years of dedication. I don't imagine you ever confronted a violent situation without backup did you. Only a fool would do that correct, and I don't perceive that you are a fool.

Now my original statement was not to imply that the ACLU member stating there was a problem was ignorant of the situation. was implying that it is a very dangerous situation to place one self into for the pay they receive, nothing more. There has to be a better way to protect the employee's welfare as well as the patients rights. However how do you do it without some sort of restraint? Instead of lambasting someone how about some ideas on how to solve the problem.

These patients needed help long before they did whatever they did to become a patient at Riverview. Were they offered help, were they given meds that they didn't take? Perhaps they were on street drugs when they became insane. I'm sure neither you or I know the answer to that question.

I hope you are enjoying the beautiful weather in Boothbay as I am in Oxford.

RONALD RIML's picture

I went to many violent situations without back-up. 10-96, 10-32

And dealt with many uninformed know-it-all's. Wrestled weapons from mental subjects, and listened to crap from folks who should know better.

Also created a 'Police Social Services' program so we could better liaison with mental health providers during the wee early morning hours when Uncle Eddy was going freaking bonkers with his .45 ACP and we didn't want to blow him off his porch. (As is usually done in Maine)

So share your pertinent background in dealing with violent mental subjects, offenders, victims, etc, etc... The 'Job Applications' you turned in, where you were hired, positions of experience, responsibility, authority. Stuff other than just blowing smokerings up our collective asses here on the web.


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