Over the past several years, the Maine Department of Corrections (MDOC) has made tremendous strides to improve the overall health and wellness for both staff and residents. To make this possible, the Department has undertaken a number of strategies to improve outcomes.
MDOC is acutely aware of it’s responsibility to the people of the state of Maine both with safety and financial responsibility. The majority of those in custody will return to the community and when those residents do return, the Department wants to ensure they are well-prepared to be productive members of those communities.
Through a variety of educational and vocational opportunities, MDOC supports college aspiration through financial planning and education for residents (the second-chance Pell Grant and partnership with UMA). A variety of vocational avenues (welding, automotive, CDL, agriculture, etc.) allow residents to pursue passions while obtaining a livable wage and transitioning on to community reintegration and eventually back home. The Department also offers staff tuition assistance programs and paid time to encourage employees to further their education and promotional opportunities.
MDOC has improved the living and working conditions in numerous ways, including the substantial agricultural programs at all six correctional sites. In partnership with Brigade, a national foodservice company, the Department has reduced overall meal cost and elevated the offerings at each meal by residents growing their own produce, which in turn helps reduce overall healthcare costs of residents.
None of these opportunities would be possible if not for the tremendous efforts towards normalization and destigmatization. Transforming the way MDOC approaches corrections, towards a true rehabilitative model has helped expand partnerships, grow opportunities, and lead Maine to become a national leader and example with measurable and positive outcomes in the field of Corrections.