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Human Rights Policy

Latest Articles

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
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Less than equal

This story has a bias. It’s in favor of human rights for all people.
 State officials, including prejudiced human-rights commissioners, block inmate complaints
By LANCE TAPLEY  |  October 02, 2009

Time for law to end torture

In a collaborative effort between human-rights activists and incarcerated Mainers, a bill to end the use and abuse of solitary confinement has been drafted and will be submitted to legislators soon.
Letters to the Portland Editor, September 18, 2009
By PORTLAND PHOENIX LETTERS  |  September 18, 2009
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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
By LANCE TAPLEY  |  August 14, 2009

Federal investigation requested

Stirred into action by the murder of a wheelchair-bound prisoner, human-rights activists have asked the federal Department of Justice to investigate the treatment of Maine State Prison inmates.
More prison turmoil
By LANCE TAPLEY  |  July 24, 2009
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The 12th Annual Muzzle Awards

With the era of repression and secrecy fostered by George W. Bush and Dick Cheney finally over, this should be the best of times for freedom of expression, open government, and civil liberties. Yet change comes slowly.
A look at the dishonorable enemies of free speech and personal liberty in New England.
By DAN KENNEDY  |  July 10, 2009


Human rights watch

Last week, on the heels of anti-torture panels and protests in Portland, Washington DC, and elsewhere, the Justice Department told the nation that it would have to wait a few more days before information about American torture policies and practices is
Acknowledging, and punishing, torture
By DEIRDRE FULTON  |  June 26, 2009

Under attack

Recent decisions by President Barack Obama and Maine Governor John Baldacci have dampened progressive hopes that the Republican-inspired war on civil liberties might be winding down.
Civil liberties' limits grow
By JEFF INGLIS  |  June 12, 2009

Dumb College Edition

Phillipe and Jorge have words of wisdom for Brown University's idiotic, uber-politically correct faculty members who voted to drop Columbus Day and substitute a "Fall Weekend" at the behest of student group called Native Americans at Brown.
Uber-PC at Beige University. Plus, too many sad farewells
By PHILLIPE and JORGE  |  April 17, 2009
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Partisan civil liberties disorder

Millions of Americans are suffering

By MATT BORS  |  April 10, 2009
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Amnesty International liberates City Hall

Old-school Jamaica Plain and Cambridge hippies had better step up their game.
The kids are all right
By CHRIS FARAONE  |  April 01, 2009


Human-rights campaigner to tour Maine

On the heels of news that Maine's unemployment rate is on the rise (2600 jobs were lost here in February), the state will host one of the nation's most powerful speakers on economic human rights this week.
Ending poverty
By DEIRDRE FULTON  |  April 01, 2009
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Thoughts on the 36th anniversary of Roe V. Wade

To commemorate that anniversary, the Maine Choice Coalition, along with the Maine Civil Liberties Union, the League of Young Voters, and the Portland Phoenix, are teaming up to screen the film I Had An Abortion at SPACE Gallery on Wednesday, January 2
 Woman rights
By DEIRDRE FULTON  |  January 21, 2009
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Speak no evil?

Anthony Lewis's free-speech credentials are impeccable: among other things, the former New York Times columnist is James Madison Visiting Professor of First Amendment Issues at Columbia University's Journalism School
Why tightening up on anti-Obama speech is a bad idea
By ADAM REILLY  |  January 14, 2009
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The problem with liberals' dislike of Rick Warren

The need to be consistent in the defense of the rights of all in our country — even those whose views we may find abhorrent.
Uncivil Liberties
By MARY ANN SORRENTINO  |  December 23, 2008
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Corrections changes

Like a movie hero, the NAACP’s new, young national president, Benjamin Jealous, swept into the 900-inmate Maine State Prison in Warren on Monday, quelling protests among the prisoners and, at least temporarily, rescuing the organization’s prison chapter
NAACP leader challenges Maine prison policies
By LANCE TAPLEY  |  December 10, 2008


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Interview: Mia Kirshner

Best known for her role as The L Word 's bookish drama fiend Jenny Schecter, Mia Kirshner is very clear about one thing: to her, acting is a "day job."
Going global
By SHAULA CLARK  |  December 09, 2008
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McCain’s crooked talk on torture

It might surprise some that McCain’s record in opposing torture and the Bush administration’s terror-war approach is more complicated than his comments suggest.
Critics, including a local former army interrogator, say he’s trying to play both sides of the issue
By IAN DONNIS  |  September 17, 2008

Joke's on whom?

Harvey Silverglate’s article is the sort of thing that should be saved for occasions when people who may be offended by humor need to be advised to calm down.
Letters to the Boston editor, August 22, 2008
By BOSTON PHOENIX LETTERS  |  August 20, 2008
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Chinese democracy

With Beijing 2008 finally at hand, China’s Tibetan occupation remains Hollywood’s cause célèbre .
A field guide to oppression in the home of the 2008 summer games
By ADAM MATTHEWS  |  August 06, 2008
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Time for a clean sweep?

In early 2007, Rhonda Dawson, a thoughtful, candid, 45-year-old African-American guard at the Maine State Prison in Warren, quit her job after four years because, she says, of racist taunting from her fellow correctional officers.
A former guard calls for prison reform
By LANCE TAPLEY  |  July 23, 2008


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Is anybody paying attention to McClatchy's powerful Guantánamo exposé?

Even before its 2006 acquisition of Knight Ridder, California-based McClatchy had a reputation for putting out some of America’s best mid-level dailies.
An old-media triumph sheds new light on Bush’s terror policy
By ADAM REILLY  |  June 25, 2008

Willful imprisonment


Letters to the Boston editor, June 20, 2008
By BOSTON PHOENIX LETTERS  |  June 18, 2008

Letters to the Portland editor, June 20, 2008

We would like to thank and congratulate Jeff Inglis for his vivid and thoughtful account of his night in the replica of a cell from Guantánamo that was placed in Portland’s Monument Square.
Getting Michaud's record straight
By LETTERS TO THE PORTLAND EDITOR  |  June 18, 2008
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Promoting human rights at home

“We have a holier-than-thou” attitude in the United States about human-rights violations abroad, said Bart Carhart, a student organizer of the new Amnesty International chapter at the University of Southern Maine.
The enemy within
By LANCE TAPLEY  |  April 02, 2008
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Scenes from childhood

His head is bowed and his eyes are closed. It was three days before he was gunned down at Harlem’s Audubon Ballroom.
The DeCordova’s classic kids photos, plus Pixnit’s graffiti, and Malcolm X
By GREG COOK  |  February 12, 2008


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Wave of reform

A wave of change is moving swiftly toward Maine’s jails and prisons. It could bring major reform — or a bureaucratic jumble.
There is now a chance to fix Maine’s broken corrections system, but only if the public speaks up
By LANCE TAPLEY  |  February 06, 2008
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Casting ballots

Some believe democracy can save the world. Others wonder whether it can even work in America.
The Human Rights Watch Film Festival on the campaign trail
By PETER KEOUGH  |  January 08, 2008
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Was it all a dream?

The Phoenix can find no evidence that the senior Romney actually marched with King, nor anything in the public record suggesting that he ever claimed to do so.
EXCLUSIVE: Mitt Romney claims that his father marched with MLK, but the record says otherwise
By DAVID S. BERNSTEIN  |  December 21, 2007
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Peaks Island veteran collects stories of war's atrocities

Thirty-six years ago, more than 100 Vietnam veterans gathered in Detroit to describe and expose war crimes perpetrated by themselves and their fellow soldiers.
Winter soldier
By DEIRDRE FULTON  |  December 05, 2007