Maine was the first state to eliminate the possibility of parole. Now, a hard-nosed state legislator and a once-incarcerated PhD student are making the case that parole deserves a second chance:
Talk of bringing back parole has intermittently stirred up in Augusta. In the early ’90s, with the corrections department facing overcrowded prisons, the head of the parole board and the warden of the state prison both publicly lobbied for it. In 1999, a parole bill was introduced into the legislature but failed to gain traction. In 2016, a group of inmates tried to initiate a voter referendum on a parole-like system. Now, just three Maine offenders remain under the parole board’s jurisdiction, on account of committing their crimes so long ago. The only one still in prison is a murderer who has been locked back up after violating terms of early release in the past. So when a push for parole got underway a couple of years ago at the statehouse — the most serious such effort to date — someone who seemed more deserving of a second chance, Brandon Brown, found himself the de facto face of the movement, and his story, for the second time in his life, started making headlines.