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Jeffrey Merrill

Latest Articles

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
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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

How big a demotion for ex-prison warden? 42%


Last week, we told you how bad the oversight of the Maine State Prison is, and we added a late-breaking tidbit: Warden Jeffrey Merrill was...
By Jeff Inglis  |  August 17, 2009

Arbitrary injustice

Fears doesn't like the particular prison where he now resides. He would prefer to be in one near his family in Arizona, and not in solitary confinement.
Sent to Supermax solitary confinement
By LANCE TAPLEY  |  April 10, 2009
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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
By LANCE TAPLEY  |  September 12, 2007
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Inmate sues prison officials in federal court

Did the Maine Department of Corrections violate the First Amendment’s free-speech guarantee by keeping inmate and human-rights activist Deane Brown from contact with the news media?
First amendment watch
By LANCE TAPLEY  |  May 18, 2007


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Prison guards suit up

Maine State Prison warden Jeffrey Merrill has decided to replace the prison’s traditional uniform for correctional officers.
Battle ready
By LANCE TAPLEY  |  March 14, 2007
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Pressure rising

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
By LANCE TAPLEY  |  March 23, 2006