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Fixing Maine’s troubled prisons is not an impossible task. In fact, if the state treated adult inmates more along the lines of how it treats juvenile offenders, prison critics — including, surprisingly, the new corrections commissioner, Joseph Ponte — t
The new corrections commissioner wants Maine prisons to learn from the state’s juvenile-treatment model
| April 08, 2011
'No-touch torture' in New Jersey
Deane Brown, a Maine inmate shipped out of state because of his criticism of the Maine State Prison, is now being held in New Jersey in "one of the most repressive" prison units in the country, often reserved for "political" or activist prisoners like
Maine Whistleblower Watch
| January 28, 2011
TB worry at Maine State Prison
"Several individuals" at the Maine State Prison in Warren have tested positive for tuberculosis, but "there are no confirmed active cases," says Denise Lord, deputy Maine Corrections commissioner.
'No active cases'
| November 12, 2010
The few things that Republican Governor-elect Paul LePage was reported as saying on crime-and-punishment issues during the campaign mostly sounded harsh and, of course, right-wing.
Will LePage's zeal to cut the budget make prisoners and guards bleed?
| November 12, 2010
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
| December 11, 2009
Another Supermax hunger strike
Protesting that nothing had been done by prison authorities to relieve the torture of prolonged solitary confinement, on August 17 inmates of the Maine State Prison’s 100-man Special Management Unit or “Supermax” reprised a hunger strike that had been ab
| September 04, 2009
Secret, unaccountable, and co-opted
The state prison in Warren has been hammered in recent months by an inmate murder and other violence, a prisoner hunger strike, legislative investigations exposing mismanagement and poor guard morale, and a request by human-rights groups for a federal pr
If the prison Board of Visitors had done its job, it might have helped prevent several recent tragedies
| August 14, 2009
Putting an end to the hunger strike
Maine State Prison officials ended a hunger strike involving at least 10 inmates of the solitary-confinement Supermax unit in Warren by threatening to withhold the strikers’ psychotropic medications, according to allegations by an inmate who participated
LANCE TAPLEY and JEFF INGLIS
| May 15, 2009
Maine Supermax inmates on hunger strike
_By Lance TapleyAt least eight inmates of the Maine State Prison’s solitary-confinement Supermax un...
| May 06, 2009
Lawmakers to probe prison
For years controversy has churned over the Maine State Prison's treatment of both inmates and correctional officers. For the first time, legislators have taken action.
Several investigations begin simultaneously
| April 10, 2009
Prisoners’ support services slashed
Governor John Baldacci announced on December 16 that he had taken significant steps toward warehousing prisoners instead of rehabilitating them.
| December 23, 2008
Letters to the Portland editor, July 25, 2008
The Black Bird Legal Collective would like to thank Lance Tapley for his continued exposure of Maine prison issues.
Time to end torture
LETTERS TO THE PORTLAND EDITOR
| July 23, 2008
| February 06, 2008
Stabbed in the back
Right now, a bewildered Mark Cible is on a nightmarish journey through some of America’s most violent prisons.
Officials reward a prison hero by endangering his life
| September 12, 2007
A Supermax “graduate”
The Supermax makes mentally unstable prisoners worse, its critics say.
Watch your backs
| July 11, 2007
Corrections Department obstructs free press
This week is Sunshine Week, a time when media organizations around the country draw attention to state and federal Freedom of Information laws.
| March 14, 2007
Cracks in the armor
A couple of cracks have opened in the state’s armor of prison secrecy.
Prison employee may be disciplined in suicide case; interview policy to be rewritten
| January 31, 2007
If you were a reporter and you received a letter like the one excerpted below, what would you make of it? Lance Tapley discusses reporting the prisons
What do prison officials have to hide?
| December 14, 2006
Stonewalling is normal
I could cite many examples of the difficulty in reporting to the Maine public what goes on behind the cement and bureaucratic walls of the public’s prison system — especially, in reporting brutal practices. I will give just a few.
Reporting the prison system
| December 13, 2006
Baldacci’s ‘political prisoner’
John Baldacci’s administration on November 13 sent the Maine State Prison’s chief human-rights advocate, inmate Deane Brown, to a dangerous prison more than 500 miles away, in Baltimore. Brown’s lawyer and his best friend believe this decision was in ret
A life at risk
| November 21, 2006
Death in the Supermax
A 25-year-old inmate killed himself in the state’s Supermax prison on October 5, corrections officers say. But while a Rockland newspaper quoted the prison warden as saying the inmate was not considered a suicide risk, Ryan Rideout had a long history of
| October 11, 2006
Joseph Steinberger thought he had won one of the most important trials of his legal career.
In a mysterious Guantánamo-like move, the state refuses to follow a judge’s order committing a mentally ill prisoner to Riverview
| July 19, 2006
Four months ago, a Phoenix investigative series revealed abuses of inmates at the “Supermax,” a 100-bed, solitary-confinement, maximum-security facility inside the Maine State Prison in Warren; since our articles were published, several important dev
Supermax torture revisited
| March 23, 2006
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