Helping Individuals with criminal records Reenter through Employment

Maine

I. Maine Department of Labor

Contact:
Maine Department of Labor
54 State House Station
20 Union St.
Augusta, ME 04332
207-287-3788
207-287-5292 fax
Web Site: www.state.me.us/labor

Information about State Department of Labor resources may be of interest to:
• potential employers looking for incentives to hire individuals with criminal histories;
• service providers and individuals with criminal histories who are looking for assistance in finding employment; and
• researchers and policy makers looking at current programs to ascertain what programs are effective and serve their intended purpose.

A. Federal Bonding Program
The Federal Bonding Program provides fidelity bonding insurance coverage to individuals with criminal histories and other high-risk job applicants who are qualified, but fail to get jobs because regular commercial bonding is denied due to their backgrounds.

Contact:
Bureau of Employment Services
Maine Department of Labor
55 State House Station
Augusta, ME 04333
207-624-6395
207-624-6499 fax

B. Tax Credits
The Work Opportunity Tax Credit (WOTC) is a federal tax credit to reduce the federal tax liability of private for profit employers to be used as an incentive for employers to hire individuals from eight different targeted groups: TANF recipients, veterans, ex-felons, high risk youth, summer youth, Food Stamp recipients, SSI recipients, and vocational rehabilitation referrals.

Contact:
Bureau of Employment Services
Maine Department of Labor
55 State House Station
Augusta, ME 04333
207-624-6488
207-624-6499 fax

C. Unemployment Insurance Office
Unemployment compensation is a social insurance program designed to provide benefits to most individuals out of work, generally through no fault of their own, for periods between jobs. In order to be eligible for benefits, jobless workers must demonstrate that they have worked, usually measured by amount of wages and/or weeks of work, and must be able and available for work.

The unemployment compensation program is based upon federal law, but administered by states under state law.

Unemployment benefits claims are filed through Unemployment Call centers. Locations and contact information are listed on the Maine Department of Labor’s web site, www.state.me.us/labor/unibennys/. Filing may also be done by mail. Forms and instructions on completing and mailing these applications may be downloaded from this site. Forms and instructions are also available at local career centers.

Contact:
Office of Administrative Services
Maine Department of Labor
20 Union St.
P.O. Box 259
Augusta, ME 04332
207-287-3516
207-287-8394 fax
Web Site: www.state.me.us/labor

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II. Criminal Record Repository

This is the agency individuals may contact to obtain a copy of their state rap sheet. The criminal record repository can also tell the individual who else is legally entitled to have access to his or her record.

A written request with the name, including any previous names, date of birth, and reason for requesting the criminal record must be submitted along with a SASE and check for $8 payable to the “Treasurer, State of Maine.”

Contact:
Identification Division
State Bureau of Identification
Maine State Police
36 Hospital St.
Augusta, ME 04330
207-624-7009

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III. State Attorney General

Employers and service providers may obtain information from the state attorney general regarding occupational bars, the licensing of individuals with criminal records in certain jobs, and whether the state has laws that limit what employers may ask job applicants or protections against employment discrimination based on a criminal record.

Contact:
Office of the Attorney General
State House Station 6
Augusta, ME 04333
207-626-8800
Web Site: www.state.me.us/ag

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IV. State Department of Corrections

Prison Industry Program

The Maine Department of Corrections operates a prison industries program in five of its adult facilities. Areas of manufacturing include woodworking, clothing, embroidery, upholstery/re-upholstery, license plates, wood harvesting and engraving. More information is available on the web site, www.state.me.us/corrections.

Contact:
Prison Industry
Maine Department of Corrections
State House 111
Augusta, ME 04333
207-287-4364
207-287-4370 fax
Web Site: www.maine.gov/corrections/

Maine Department of Corrections

The Maine Department of Corrections operates six adult facilities including one pre-release center. Fewer than 10 inmates remain under old sentencing statutes which require release on parole. Most inmates are released after serving flat sentences minus any earned good time (awarded at the rate of five days per month) and are released without post-release supervision, although some offenders are sentenced to additional probation supervision. The Central Maine Pre-Release Center accepts minimum-security inmates with less than 14 months to release. When an inmate has six months or less to serve, he or she may be released to the community to find paid employment. Adult educational classes, including life skills, are offered at the pre-release facility by the local school district.

Contact:
Maine Department of Corrections
State House Station 111
Augusta, ME 04333
207-287-4360
207-287-4370 fax
Web Site: www.maine.gov/corrections/

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V. Department of Corrections

Probation and Parole Division

Parole/Probation in Maine is under the direction of the Department of Corrections. When released from incarceration, offenders may or may not be subject to post-release supervision. Courts may require post-release supervision as part of an offender’s sentence. There is limited assistance offered to an individual with a criminal history in finding employment during the post-release supervision period. Assistance is usually given in the form of a referral to the Maine Department of Labor’s Career Center. (See Section VII.)

Contact:
Probation and Parole Division
P.O. Box 3098
Auburn, ME 04212
207-783-5382
Web Site: www.maine.gov/corrections/

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VI. Legal Assistance

Free or low-cost legal resources, both in civil and criminal law, are helpful to individuals with criminal histories in learning about relevant state laws governing the expungement or sealing of criminal histories or addressing other legal issues resulting from having a criminal history.

A. State Public Defender

Maine does not have a public defender office. A defendant must petition the court at the time of arraignment for appointed counsel.

Contact:

B. Legal Services

Pine Tree Legal Assistance is a non-profit corporation providing legal assistance to people whose income is 125 percent of the federal income poverty guidelines or less. It also has developed and maintains the HelpMeLaw web site (www.helpmelaw.org) which lists other organizations in Maine that offer legal information and assistance.

Contact:
Pine Tree Legal Assistance
39 Green St.
P.O. Box 2429
Augusta, ME 04338
207-622-4731 or 207-623-7777
207-623-7774 fax
E-Mail: augusta@ptla.org
Web Site: www.ptla.org

C. State Bar Association

Contact:
Maine State Bar Association
P.O. Box 788
Augusta, ME 04322
207-622-7523
207-625-0083 fax
Web Site: www.mainebar.org/

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VII. Local Service Providers

Community agencies are available to assist individuals with criminal records find employment. This information will inform individuals with criminal records about government agencies and community-based organizations that assist with employment, education or vocational training. Researchers and policy makers may find this information useful in identifying agencies and service providers in order to evaluate the effectiveness of these programs.

Cumberland County Jail Pre-Release Program

Cumberland County Jail has a work release/pre-release program for those inmates serving probation violations or felony time in the county jail. A prisoner may have two or three consecutive sentences of nine months duration and serve his/her sentence in the county jail. The jail offers a food service/culinary arts program, as well as a GED program. To be eligible for work release, inmates must have a GED, no disciplinary record, minimum-security level, and be in the last third of their sentence. There is a 10-week life skills and employability seminar class that all participants are enrolled in prior to their release on day work release. Dealing with one’s criminal history is also part of the seminar. Assistance is given in job placement.

Contact:
Cumberland County Jail
Portland, ME 04102
207-774-5939 ext. 156

Set Free in Maine

Set Free in Maine is a 10-year-old faith-based organization. Employment and life skills training are offered to former offenders upon release. Set Free in Maine has a working woodshop that employs former prisoners. Income generated from the sale of furniture is the funding mechanism for the program. Referrals to the program are made by religious organizations that operate within the prison system. Individual mentoring begins three to six months prior to release. Inmates are matched with a mentor in the area where the inmate is going to return. Set Free in Maine tries to meet individual needs such as housing and offering anger management groups.

Contact:
Set Free in Maine
RR 1, 674 Riverside Rd.
Augusta, ME 04330
207-622-4709
207-622-4709 fax

One-Stop Career Centers

Maine has 23 One-Stop Career Centers that assist job seekers in finding employment. Information and services about job markets, skill assessment, resume writing, and interviewing techniques are available. Referrals for upgrading skills and job training is also available. The Career Center hotline number is 1-888-457-8883.

Contact:
Bureau of Employment Services
Maine Department of Labor
55 State House Station
Augusta, ME 04333
207-624-6390
Web Site: www.mainecareercenter.com

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