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Criminal Sentencing and Punishment

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The 13th Annual Muzzle Awards

A year and a half into the Age of Obama, we are learning a lesson we should have figured out long ago — that repression, once in place, is rarely rolled back all the way, and that liberals no less than conservatives are reluctant to give up power.
A look at the dishonorable enemies of free speech and personal liberty in New England
By DAN KENNEDY  |  July 02, 2010
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Pressing Obama for an answer

Convicted murderer Darrell Jones has accomplished more in the worlds of media, entertainment, and activism from behind bars over the past 25 years than most free people do in a lifetime.
Inside Job Dept.
By CHRIS FARAONE  |  May 28, 2010

Death penalty possible for Watland

Gary Watland, the brilliant and mentally ill convicted murderer whose 2006 scheme to have his wife smuggle a loaded handgun into the Maine State Prison in Warren was foiled when another prisoner tipped off officials, faces a possible death penalty if co
Prison Murder
By LANCE TAPLEY  |  May 28, 2010

How can those in the box think outside of the box?

I was disgusted on multiple levels with what the article revealed about the Maine State Prison.
Letters to the Portland editor, May 14, 2010
By PORTLAND PHOENIX LETTERS  |  May 14, 2010
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The Big Hurt: The week in death

Back in January, I predicted that, because of medical advances and the prospect of universal health care, no musicians would die in this decade. Unfortunately, it hasn’t turned out that way.
 RIP Chilton, Guru, and editorial tact
By DAVID THORPE  |  April 30, 2010

Radical night out in Portland

“People are upset about Guantánamo and Abu Ghraib,” Noam Chomsky told 750 people packed into the Woodfords Congregational Church last Saturday night, “but if you’re concerned about human rights, take a walk into a maximum-security prison.”
 Activism Optimism
By LANCE TAPLEY  |  April 30, 2010


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Are doctors complicit in prison torture?

In the past few years an outcry has arisen over the involvement of military and CIA medical professionals and psychologists in torture. Some critics have even suggested criminal prosecution of the medical staff involved or, at least, revocation of their
The Maine medical community looks at solitary confinement
By LANCE TAPLEY  |  April 23, 2010
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It takes an identity thief

In late April 2006, shortly before the hearing to evict his tenant Karen Keester, Lee Gersch received a phone call from Keester’s twin sister, Michelle. She had just gotten divorced, Michelle claimed, and needed to move to Boston from Arkansas for a new
How Karen Keester made off with $250,000 — and became one of Boston's most accomplished con artists
By JACLYN TROP  |  April 23, 2010

A ‘moral victory’ against supermax torture

At times the legislative debate on LD 1611, the bill to limit solitary confinement of the state’s prisoners, became surreal.
Analysis
By LANCE TAPLEY  |  April 16, 2010
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Murderabilia

Incarcerated in a maximum-security prison in Cranston, Rhode Island, Jeff Mailhot grabbed a pen and a sheet of stationery and traced an outline of his beefy left hand.
A serial killer seeks a payoff
By JOHN LARRABEE  |  April 02, 2010
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Hello, we’re Johnny Cash

The Nave Gallery in Somerville kicks off its month-long salute to the Man in Black next week.
Stacked all-star tribute/benefit at the RISD Auditorium
By CHRIS CONTI  |  April 02, 2010


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Boston film group protests arrest of Iranian director

At the Montreal Film Festival last summer, I had the pleasure of interviewing the Iranian director Jafar Panahi, who was serving as president of the international jury.
Power of cinema?
By PETER KEOUGH  |  March 26, 2010
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Maine tortures women, too

The Maine Department of Corrections is an equal-opportunity torturer.
But Riverview presents an alternative
By LANCE TAPLEY  |  March 12, 2010
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Review: A Prophet

Visionaries thrive behind bars: Dostoevsky, Martin Luther King, Malcolm X. "The truth is ugly," explains one would-be sage, Charles Manson. "So we put our prophets in prison."
Jacques Audiard's Scarface for the new millennium
By PETER KEOUGH  |  March 05, 2010
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Words from women in prison

In her early years as a Providence police officer, Tabitha Glavin didn't think much about why women ended up in prison; her job was to put them there.
Corrections Dept.
By ELIZABETH RAU  |  March 05, 2010

The cost of torture

In the end, whether mass solitary confinement continues at the Maine State Prison supermax may come down to an issue of money rather than right or wrong. And resolving that issue may come down to whether the state wants to pay more now to pay less in the
Solitary Confinement Bill Hearing
By LANCE TAPLEY  |  February 26, 2010


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Screams from solitary

The 132-man supermax unit within the 925-man Maine State Prison is an expensive, taxpayer-funded torture chamber that for 18 years has sucked in mostly nonviolent, mostly mentally ill prisoners and ground them up by means of mind-destroying solitary conf
‘By dehumanizing prisoners, we dehumanize ourselves.’
By LANCE TAPLEY  |  February 19, 2010

Seeking humane treatment

Some Maine people are taking moral responsibility for the way supermax inmates are treated.
State and national efforts well under way
By LANCE TAPLEY  |  February 19, 2010

Anti-solitary campaign expands

As the February 17 State House public hearing approaches on the bill to restrict solitary confinement at the Maine State Prison, the National Religious Campaign Against Torture (NRCAT), which sparked national debate about Abu Ghraib and Guantánamo, has a
Stopping Supermax Torture
By LANCE TAPLEY  |  February 05, 2010
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Finding her voice

"There is a balm in Gilead," an old African-American spiritual has it, and sure enough, Percy Talbott (Kelly Caufield) finds that balm.
An ex-con, a village, an opera
By MEGAN GRUMBLING  |  January 29, 2010

A lawyer’s adventures in bad judgment

People who know Keven McKenna know he is not a stupid man. Whether or not the Providence attorney, ex-state representative, and Harold Stassen of Providence mayoral races uses good judgment is another question.
Contempt of Court
By MARY ANN SORRENTINO  |  December 25, 2009


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Corrections disobeys another federal court order

For decades, as it has with other court orders, the Maine Department of Corrections has apparently been breaching a 1973 federal court’s decree that forbids disciplinary solitary confinement at the Maine State Prison beyond 10 days for minor offenses, or
Solitary Confinement
By LANCE TAPLEY  |  December 18, 2009

Can we have class dismissed?

What, you might ask, does Ahmed Hussein Ismail, the alleged gun-toting robber mistakenly let out of jail in Portland, have in common with Tareq and Michaele Salahi, alleged White House party-crashers?
Diverse City
By SHAY STEWART-BOULEY  |  December 11, 2009

A mysterious new inmate death

Despite a scandal earlier this year over a prisoner death, state corrections officials won’t allow the Phoenix to interview a Maine State Prison inmate who has claimed in letters that prison staff abused an ailing prisoner, Victor Valdez, before Valdez
Prison Scandal Watch
By LANCE TAPLEY  |  December 11, 2009
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Missing Persons singer Dale Bozzio jailed

Missing Persons singer Dale Bozzio is sitting in an Ossipee, New Hampshire, jail after dropping her appeal of a March animal-cruelty conviction.
Swinging a Dead Cat Dept.
By ASHLEY RIGAZIO  |  November 20, 2009
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Courthouse bomber to speak about social change

After it was initially canceled, a controversial talk by a radical activist will go on Thursday at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst. Ray Luc Levasseur, who grew up in Sanford, Maine, and became a radical in part due to his experiences as a soldier
Censorship averted
By RICK WORMWOOD  |  November 13, 2009


Suspect speaks; victim’s family begins $1-million-plus lawsuit

The widow of Sheldon Weinstein, the Maine State Prison inmate who died in April several days after allegedly being beaten by inmates, has taken the first step toward filing a wrongful-death lawsuit against prison guards, Department of Corrections “policy
 Prison Homicide
By LANCE TAPLEY  |  November 06, 2009
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Bozzio's a somewhat missing person on the west coast

As she awaits a retrial on animal-cruelty charges in New Hampshire, Missing Persons frontwoman Dale Bozzio’s troubles continue in Southern California, where she faces eviction from her San Fernando Valley home over $4400 in missing rent payments.
Cat Crazy Dept.
By ASHLEY RIGAZIO  |  October 23, 2009

State should protect inmates’ rights

As Lance Tapley points out, denying prisoners access to human-rights protections is a mistake (see "Less Than Equal," October 2).
Letters to the Portland Editor, October 16, 2009
By PORTLAND PHOENIX LETTERS  |  October 16, 2009

Injustice everywhere

Thank you for the timely interview with Harvey Silverglate.
Letters to the Portland Editor, October 9, 2009
By PORTLAND PHOENIX LETTERS  |  October 09, 2009