AUGUSTA — The Maine Department of Corrections is proposing changes to the rules that govern the way prisoners communicate with the outside world.

The list of proposed changes includes prohibiting prisoners from soliciting or communicating with a pen pal, publishing a byline or “acting as an agent of the news media.”

Maine Public Broadcasting Network reports the corrections department has declined to discuss the proposals while they are under consideration.

Critics say the proposed changes raise free speech issues. Members of the Maine Prisoner Advocacy Coalition and others say the changes won’t reduce recidivism and will further isolate inmates.

A spokesman for the Maine attorney general’s office declined to comment on the issue on the grounds that the public comment period on the proposal is still open.

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