Latest Articles


Review: This Is Not A Film

It can't be a film, because the acclaimed director Jafar Panahi ( The Circle , etc.) has been ordered not to make any by the Iranian theocrats who have also sentenced the dissident filmmaker to an upcoming jail sentence.
Artistic provocation
By GERALD PEARY  |  May 04, 2012

The Feds bus convicted former speaker Sal DiMasi to Worcester, sending Beacon Hill into a panic

For nearly a year and a half, Beacon Hill has been operating under the specter of the Massachusetts Probation Department patronage scandal.
Sal's baaaaaack!
By DAVID S. BERNSTEIN  |  February 24, 2012
Short take - One for the Money

Review: One for the Money

TV director Julie Anne Robinson's insipid adaptation of this first volume in Janet Evanovich's Stephanie Plum series has more in common with Young Adult than with the average gumshoe yarn.
Julie Anne Robinson's insipid adaptation
By PETER KEOUGH  |  February 03, 2012
The Devil Inside short take

Review: The Devil Inside

William Brent Bell's film opens with a disclaimer that "the Vatican does not endorse this movie." No kidding — the Catholic Church isn't exactly known for its sense of humor.
William Brent Bell's limp mockumentary
By ALEXANDRA CAVALLO  |  January 13, 2012
MW3 - Paradise Lost

Closing the book on the West Memphis Three

The Paradise Lost story began in 1993 with the discovery of the bodies of three West Memphis, Arkansas, children in a watery ditch, hogtied and mutilated. A confession led police to the arrest of three teenagers: Damon Echols, Jason Baldwin, and Jessie
Between heaven and hell
By DANIEL BROCKMAN  |  January 06, 2012

Senator Collins helps derail prison reform

As a result of the apparent decision by congressional Republicans to oppose almost everything Democrats are for, Maine Senator Susan Collins — who claims to be above partisanship — helped derail Virginia Democratic Senator Jim Webb's bill to establish a
'Toxic' Washington
By LANCE TAPLEY  |  November 11, 2011


'Bath salts' hysteria grips lawmakers

Like hopeless, strung-out junkies, one legislator after another babbled contradictions.
This is your Legislature on drugs
By LANCE TAPLEY  |  October 07, 2011
short takes black power mixtape

Review: The Black Power Mixtape 1967-1975

In the era when the Black Panther Party was its most powerful and off-the-pig-threatening and separatist, there was little interest in even conversing with whitey, unless whitey was from somewhere other than the ultra-racist USA.
A collage of privileged documentary moments
By GERALD PEARY  |  September 30, 2011
Boardwalk Empire TV

Is Boardwalk Empire about to enter its golden age?

Dispel any remaining doubts. The new season (which begins this Sunday at 9 pm on HBO) unfolds with a new leisurely, cinematic grandeur.
Easy livin'
By JON GARELICK  |  September 23, 2011

Top prison officials fired

In a continuing shakeup at the troubled Maine State Prison, new Corrections commissioner Joseph Ponte has fired six top officials including its controversial security chief, Deputy Warden James O'Farrell.
Shakeup continues
By LANCE TAPLEY  |  June 17, 2011

Corporate prison bill 'carried over'

Although LD 690, A BILL TO MAKE IT EASIER FOR "EXILED" PRISONERS TO RETURN TO MAINE , was killed May 6 by the Legislature's Criminal Justice Committee, political activist Ron Huber, who had pushed it, declared "victory in Augusta" on his Facebook page.
Inmate Exile Dept.
By LANCE TAPLEY  |  May 13, 2011

Lessons learned

" Lock-up Lessons " by Lance Tapley (April 8) is a superb article and perfectly timed.
Letters to the Portland Phoenix Editor, April 15, 2011

A bankrobber downsizes

There's nothing like an art heist to make a journalist spout hyperbole.
Annals of Crime
By JOHN LARRABEE  |  April 15, 2011

At a turning point

When Joseph Ponte was told that Maine's longtime corrections commissioner Martin Magnusson had once informed the Legislature's Criminal Justice Committee, after a dramatic hostage-taking, that there were "probably 300 inmates right now with a weapon in
LePage's nominee to head Corrections has the skills to fix Maine's broken prison system. Will the governor and lawmakers give Joseph Ponte the tools?
By LANCE TAPLEY  |  February 11, 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
By LANCE TAPLEY  |  January 28, 2011

Prison administration

Joseph Ponte, 64, a veteran warden for the nation's largest private-prison operator, the Corrections Corporation of America (CCA), has been nominated by Republican Governor Paul LePage to be the state's Corrections commissioner, replacing Martin Magnusso
Prison administration
By LANCE TAPLEY  |  January 28, 2011


Alpha Cormega

Cormega's been to Paris, been to and from prison, and signed to Def Jam and a host of smaller labels.
A Queens rapper sees the real world through Boston
By CHRIS FARAONE  |  December 17, 2010

Activist and friend hope for DREAM Act passage

Jessy Galvéz is kneeling at the altar of El Sinai Church in Portland, at an interfaith vigil supporting the DREAM Act.
Immigrant rights
By ANNE HOFFMAN  |  December 10, 2010

Jail ATM charges $10 per transaction

Arrested in Cumberland County without a big wad of cash on you? If you're going to bail yourself out, prepare to pay through the nose.
'Captive audience'
By RICK WORMWOOD  |  November 12, 2010

Fulsome prison blues

If a Hollywood It-Girl really wants to leave her mark this summer, she’ll have to work a lot harder than usual.
Two DUI s , cocaine, and now jail — what’s next for Li Lo? Five local dignitaries chime in.
By SHARON STEEL  |  August 01, 2007