Police & Fire

Inmate’s lawsuit says Bangor jail denied him mental health treatment and access to lawyer

By Judy Harrison, Bangor Daily News Staff

A Penobscot County Jail inmate has sued Sheriff Troy Morton and jail administrators in U.S. District Court in Bangor alleging that he and other inmates are being denied access to mental health treatment, their lawyers, legal materials and administrative remedies for their grievances.

Wayne E. Boulier Jr., 40, of Bradley and Presque Isle also said in the lawsuit filed Wednesday that jail administrators intercepted letters he wrote to the Bangor Daily News about conditions at the Bangor jail.

As of Thursday, the newspaper had not received a communication from Boulier.

He is seeking $500,000 in damages and an injunction from the court ordering that he be held at another jail.

Morton declined to comment on Boulier’s accusations. It is the practice of Penobscot County not to comment on pending litigation.

Boulier, who is representing himself in federal court, has been boarded at the Kennebec County Jail since Feb. 25, two days after Morton announced that six jail staff members had tested positive for COVID-19. That outbreak has since grown to cases among 14 inmates and 12 jail staff and others affiliated with the facility. Boulier claims he was moved to the jail in retaliation for filing grievances.

His complaints are similar to those voiced by other inmates to a local group that opposes the proposed construction of a new jail. Some inmates said they had been denied medication — such as anti-addiction medication — for which they have a prescription, and that jail staff have used COVID-19 quarantines as a form of punishment. The Maine Beacon website first reported on the letter earlier this month.

Boulier also accused staff at the Bangor jail of not following pandemic protocols established by the Maine Department of Corrections. But the state agency in September and November found that the jail was generally in compliance with those standards.

In his handwritten complaint dated March 11, Boulier said that staff at the Penobscot County Jail allowed him to call his attorney, Zachary Smith of Bangor, but after business hours. Smith said Thursday that Boulier has had trouble reaching him about his pending cases.

Boulier also said that while at the Augusta facility, he has received receipts from administrators for the grievances he’s filed there but never received receipts or acknowledgement of grievances filed at the Bangor jail.

The inmate also said that he suffers from post traumatic stress disorder that has been exacerbated by being quarantined and by being threatened with quarantine while at the Penobscot County Jail.

Boulier has a long criminal history in Maine dating back to at least 2004, according to documents filed at the Penobscot Judicial Center. He most recently was arrested Jan. 21 in Bradley and charged with domestic violence, assault, aggravated criminal mischief, theft and drug possession after a fight with his ex-girlfriend. Since then, he has been charged with one count of tampering with a witness and 23 counts of trying to contact her illegally.

In 2013, he was charged in federal court in Bangor with being a felon in possession of a firearm after he pointed a pistol at a bouncer outside a Presque Isle bar. Boulier pleaded guilty and was sentenced to five years in prison to be followed by three years of supervised release. 

Boulier’s supervised release was revoked twice and he was sent back to federal prison. He most recently was released on Aug. 26, 2020, according to the U.S. Bureau of Prisons’ inmate locator website.

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