AUBURN — Four corrections officers were hurt over the weekend while trying to control an inmate who had been at the county jail since February.

Androscoggin County Jail officials said the injuries ranged from bumps and bruises to possibly torn ligaments and shoulder injuries.

Two of the officers were hurt on Saturday when the inmate, 30-year-old transient Seth Matthews, became aggressive at the jail, according to Sheriff Eric Samson. Both officers were taken to a Lewiston hospital.

On Monday, another pair of officers were hurt while trying to control the same inmate under similar circumstances, Samson said. One of those officers was taken by ambulance to the hospital.

One officer has returned to work without restrictions, according to Jail Capt. Jeff Chute. The other three are restricted to light duty.

Matthews has since been moved to a mental health unit at the Maine State Prison, according to Samson. Matthews has not been charged in the alleged attacks.

According to records, Matthews was arrested Feb. 18 on a charge of disorderly conduct in downtown Lewiston. Ten days later, he was arrested at St. Mary’s Regional Medical Center Feb. 28 on a misdemeanor charge of criminal trespass and on a charge of violating bail conditions. He had remained at the jail since.

In Androscoggin County and elsewhere, jail officials have warned for years that they are not equipped to deal long term with inmates with violent tendencies or those who may suffer from mental illness.

“We’re not appropriate housing for inmates of that caliber,” said Chute.

Advocates, families, jail officials, lawyers and lawmakers throughout the state have said the problem is widespread: people with mental illnesses are languishing in county jails without skilled care, therapy or, in many cases, medication, because while they’ve been arrested for a crime, jails aren’t meant to handle them.

“I believe mental health issues now are being criminalized,” Samson said in a 2015 interview “They’re being placed here, where we don’t have resources or the expertise to deal with these people appropriately.”

Court records indicate Matthews was born in Norway and has lived in various locations in Portland, Lewiston and Oxford County. His criminal history includes charges of disorderly conduct, assault and criminal trespass.

In January, he was summonsed on a charge of unlawful sexual touching for allegedly groping a hospital worker at Central Maine Medical Center.

Augusta and Waterville news

Get news and events from your towns in your inbox every Friday.


  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.