Charles KnowlesAge 16
29 Oct 2016
South Portland, Maine (USA)
Charles died by suicide while incarcerated in a youth prison. Five years after his death, the Maine Department of Corrections paid to settle a wrongful death lawsuit by his mother.
The mother of a transgender teen who died by suicide while incarcerated at Maine’s youth prison nearly 4 1/2 years ago has settled a wrongful death lawsuit against the Maine Department of Corrections for $225,000.
Michelle Knowles of North Vassalboro sued the department in April in U.S. District Court in Portland, alleging that despite suicide threats and attempts, staff at the Long Creek Youth Development Center in South Portland showed deliberate indifference to the serious risk that her 16-year-old son would injure himself by placing him in a cell that was neither suicide-resistant nor free of protrusions.
Charles Maise Knowles was [assigned female at birth] but identified as male. Long Creek staff found him dead in his cell on Oct. 29, 2016. He had been incarcerated at the facility since Aug. 18, 2016.
His death sparked a series of investigations into conditions at Maine’s only juvenile prison and calls for the facility’s closure. The most recent report, issued earlier this month, showed that Long Creek has failed to address issues that have plagued the facility for years. It was the third time in four years that the Center for Children’s Law and Policy, based in Washington, D.C., has investigated the conditions there.
The latest report came at the urging of a watchdog group that sounded the alarm in September over violent incidents. The report urged the state to implement some of previous recommendations, namely hiring enough of the right staff to run a safe, humane prison.