State hires outside expert to review suicide prevention policy at youth prison

Good evening from the BDN Portland office on Congress Street. Tonight: an update on Long Creek; there’s going to be a new food festival in town; and Trump is picking his candidate for the Supreme Court.

What we’re talking about

After teen’s death, state orders independent review of suicide prevention at youth prison — Jake Bleiberg and Danielle McLean report on the latest development following the suicide of Charles Maisie Knowles at Long Creek in South Portland.

The Maine Department of Corrections has hired an outside expert to review the suicide prevention policy at its youth prison after a teenage detainee killed himself in the facility last year.

The department previously said that “state and federal experts” would be going over its policy after Knowles, a 16-year-old transgender boy, hanged himself at the Long Creek Youth Development Center in South Portland last October.

But the department recently decided that it also needs a third-party, “with no ties to the facility or state of Maine,” to examine what happened at Long Creek, according to Jan. 21 document, which requested that the competitive bidding process be waived because of the “immediate need” to conduct the review.
Read the document here.  

LePage takes aim at asylum seekers, says he might sue federal government — Christopher Cousins reports that “Gov. Paul LePage said his administration is considering suing the federal government to cover the state’s costs for caring for immigrants while their applications for asylum are being processed.”

‘Trump administration circulates more draft immigration restrictions’ From the Washington Post:

The Trump administration is considering a plan to weed out would-be immigrants who are likely to require public assistance, as well as to deport — when possible — immigrants already living in the United States who depend on taxpayer help, according to a draft executive order obtained by The Washington Post. …

The administration would be seeking to “deny admission to any alien who is likely to become a public charge” and develop standards for “determining whether an alien is deportable … for having become a public charge within five years of entry” — receiving a certain amount of public assistance, including Food Stamps, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) and Medicaid.

New food festival announced for Portland — Kathleen Pierce has the skinny on a new food festival scheduled for June.

The just-announced Portland Food Festival to be held June 22 at Thompson’s Point will consist of workshops designed by farm-to-table heavies like John Naylor of Rosemont Market. … The day will be education focused for industry insiders and at night live bands (booked by Ken Bell of Portland House of Music and Events) set the soundtrack to some serious chowing down. …

“This is not in any way for tourists,” said Eric Holstein, Fork Food Lab co-owner and one of the organizers. “It’s local, local, local.”

Tonight: Trump announces his pick for the Supreme Court — He’s making the announcement live on Facebook in a move that some have compared to a reality show. Here is a breakdown on the contenders.  

Tweet of the day

From Dave Weigel:

Screenshot 2017-01-31 15.55.24


The Big Idea

‘Dr. Carlo Musso took an oath to do no harm. So why does he take part in executions?’ — Here’s an interesting New York Times documentary on Carlo Musso, a doctor “who contemplates his moral compass as he participates in executions, though he personally opposes capital punishment.”

Here’s one reason why:

Musso … is adamant that as long as the United States conducts executions, doctors should be involved. He argues that the involvement of doctors and their ability to ensure what he calls “end of life comfort measures” helps keep our capital punishment system as humane as possible.

Got any interesting story ideas, suggestions or links to share? Email Dan MacLeod at, or tweet @dsmacleod.

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Dan MacLeod

About Dan MacLeod

Dan MacLeod is the managing editor of the Bangor Daily News. He's an Orland native who moved to Portland in 2002 and now lives in Unity. He's been a journalist since 2008, and previously worked for the New York Post and the Brooklyn Paper.