Prisoner Deane Brown should be back in Maine within two to three weeks, the Maine Department of Corrections notified his attorney on January 4.
In 2005 Brown blew the whistle on the savage abuse of inmates at the Maine State Prison, arranging for prisoners to speak to the Phoenix. In 2006 he was shipped to Maryland and in 2010 to New Jersey as his punishment for his contacts with the press.
Jean Ross, the Princeton lawyer who has represented him since he landed in the New Jersey State Prison, has been pushing to have Brown sent back to his home state as soon as possible because of what she calls inadequate medical care in the Trenton prison.
Joseph Ponte, Maine's corrections commissioner, told the Phoenix in an email January 4 that once Brown, 49, is back in Maine, "I know CCS will offer appropriate medical treatment." Ponte was referring to Correct Care Solutions, the national corporation he installed last summer as the prison system's health-care provider, replacing another private company, Corizon (formerly, Correctional Medical Services), which had been heavily criticized by legislative investigators.
Ross has been alarmed over the quality of the treatment of complications from Brown's diabetes. His feet and legs have become infected, she said, and parts of his toes have been destroyed. He is hoping to avoid having them amputated.
On January 3, she said Brown "has to fight almost every morning to get to go to the clinic, so they can implement the order to change his bandages daily." His left leg was swollen past the knee, she said, and a new wound had appeared on his left foot, which was "continually oozing blood and pus." She based her information on phone calls from Brown.
She has been aggressively pursuing New Jersey prison medical officials about his situation, and at the latest report his condition appeared to have stabilized after the administration of stronger antibiotics. On January 4, she said there was "some improvement," with the drainage of blood having stopped.
New Jersey prison authorities said they can't discuss a prisoner's medical condition because of federal confidentiality regulations.
The Phoenix's seven-years-and-counting series on prisoner abuse has to a large degree focused on the horrors of solitary confinement in the Warren prison's "supermax" unit. During the past two years, Ponte, appointed by Governor Paul LePage, has reduced solitary by 70 percent and in other ways reformed the prisons.
For more on Brown, who is serving 59 years for burglary, see "Prison Whistleblower to Return to Maine," by Lance Tapley, December 28, 2012.