Maine Civil Liberties Union

Latest Articles

Commemorate 9/11 in your own way

Regardless of what you believe about 9/11, it is a day that deserves contemplation and commemoration. Here are some local events before, after, and on the 10th anniversary that will get your blood, brain, or heartstrings moving.
By DEIRDRE FULTON  |  September 09, 2011

Mentally ill inmates need more help

Prisoner advocates would like the new Corrections commissioner to strengthen his reform of the Maine State Prison by giving more care to the many mentally ill prisoners he is releasing from often-lengthy solitary confinement into the prison's general po
Prison reform
By LANCE TAPLEY  |  June 24, 2011

Reform comes to the supermax

Less than three months into his job, Maine's new corrections commissioner Joseph Ponte has begun to dramatically reform the Maine State Prison's long-troubled solitary-confinement "supermax" unit.
New commissioner cuts population by more than half; prisoner-rights advocates help in the reform
By LANCE TAPLEY  |  May 27, 2011

NAACP, others bristle after GOP Senator censors anti-private-prison testimony

What is it with some Republicans and racial issues, anyway?
Words ‘slavery,’ ‘racism’ banned
By LANCE TAPLEY  |  April 30, 2011

LePage interested in corporate prisons

In the gubernatorial campaign the controversial Corrections Corporation of America (CCA), the nation's largest for-profit prison operator, spent $25,000 on behalf of Republican candidate Paul LePage, now the governor-elect.
The $25,000 contribution question
By LANCE TAPLEY  |  December 17, 2010

Will the lame ducks lift Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell?

The clock is ticking for Congress to act on two important anti-discrimination measures, both contained in the huge defense bill that senators hope to debate before the holiday recess.
Down to the wire
By DEIRDRE FULTON  |  December 10, 2010

Penal future

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?
By LANCE TAPLEY  |  November 12, 2010

Ramping up safe-drinking strategies

It'll come as no surprise to anyone who was out and about during the long, hot, holiday weekend that Portland's drinking and nightlife scenes get a little bit more . . . intense during the summer months.
Summer Nights
By DEIRDRE FULTON  |  July 09, 2010

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

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.
By LANCE TAPLEY  |  April 16, 2010

Marriage activists get closure, look forward

Congresswoman Chellie Pingree expressed what many in the room were feeling at Equality Maine’s annual dinner celebration on Saturday night: the function room at the Holiday Inn by the Bay on Spring Street elicits “a little bit of PTSD” for Maine’s gay-ri
Moving on
By DEIRDRE FULTON  |  April 02, 2010


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

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

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

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

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

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

After the Question 1 vote

Last Tuesday, Maine became the 31st state to put same-sex marriage to a public vote — and to have it lose.
By DEIRDRE FULTON  |  November 13, 2009
mclu list

It's time to party!

Doug Kimmel and Ron Schwiser were married 40 years ago by a Presbyterian minister. They've lived in Hancock — where they pay taxes, attend church, and volunteer in the community — for more than 20 years. Yet, they are virtual strangers in the eyes of t
Get your friends together and marshal support for marriage
By SHENNA BELLOWS  |  August 07, 2009
painting list

Just the beginning

More than a few people asked us why we are publishing this special section now — now that gay-marriage opponents have filed their People's Veto signatures, now that same-sex marriages will not be taking place at least until after Mainers vote on th
The battle for marriage equality really starts now
By DEIRDRE FULTON  |  August 07, 2009
painting list

Just the beginning

More than a few people asked us why we are publishing this special section now — now that gay-marriage opponents have filed their People's Veto signatures, now that same-sex marriages will not be taking place at least until after Mainers vote on th
The battle for marriage equality really starts now
By DEIRDRE FULTON  |  August 07, 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
gay marriage list

After the battle

In a fast-moving and historic couple of days in Augusta (pity they don't move so fast on other important issues), the Maine Legislature last week approved same-sex marriage, and Governor John Baldacci ended weeks of speculation about what he would do
Where will same-sex marriage be in 2010?
By JEFF INGLIS  |  May 15, 2009

Legislative battle takes shape

The list of Maine's gay-marriage bill co-sponsors — i.e. , those legislators lending the most robust support to the measure — was released last Thursday afternoon.
Gay marriage
By DEIRDRE FULTON  |  March 18, 2009

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

Legislature will take up gay marriage this session

Maine lawmakers are certain to debate gay marriage in 2009, with competing marriage-related bills slated to be filed with the Legislature this week.
Equal rights
By DEIRDRE FULTON  |  January 14, 2009

MCLU list photo 2/10/06

Domestic spying

In January, the Maine Civil Liberties Union announced that the FBI has secretly monitored the Maine Coalition for Peace and Justice, an alliance of around 60 local peace and environmental groups.
Maine's walls have ears
By SARA DONNELLY  |  February 08, 2006