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Prison

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ShortTake:Unforgivable

Review: Unforgivable

Lucky for André Téchiné that he's so slick with exposition.
Voyeurism and narcissism
By PETER KEOUGH  |  July 20, 2012
Short Takes: Mission: Impossible -- Ghost Protocol

Review: Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol

Impossible Missions Force agent Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) returns to the screen in dramatic fashion as new teammate Jane (Paula Patton) and the returning Benji (Simon Pegg) break him out of a Russian prison.
Worthy of an IMAX screen
By BRETT MICHEL  |  December 23, 2011

Privatized prison medical care is sick

For years complaints that the privatized medical care at the state's prisons was inadequate and abusive have poured into the mail and email boxes of prisoner advocates, the state's Corrections commissioner, and the press.
But will cutting costs cure it? Joe Ponte's balancing act
By LANCE TAPLEY  |  December 16, 2011
Short Take: Into the Abyss

Review: Into the Abyss

From the abyss of time in Cave of Forgotten Dreams , Werner Herzog turns to the abyss of capital punishment in today's America.
Werner Herzog turns to the abyss of capital punishment
By PETER KEOUGH  |  November 11, 2011
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'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

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


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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

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
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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

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
By PORTLAND PHOENIX LETTERS  |  April 15, 2011
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Burzum | Fallen

Illegible as they are ubiquitous (anywhere a patch meets denim or a bored headbanger's head meets a study-hall desk), metal logos are the ultimate example of form over function.
Byelobog Productions (2011)
By JANSSEN MCCORMICK  |  March 11, 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

'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
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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

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'
By LANCE TAPLEY  |  November 12, 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


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5 years against torture

The Portland Phoenix ’s prison investigation, focusing on the Maine supermax, has published 75 stories over the past five years. Here are some of the key pieces, with brief updates on what, if anything, has happened since.
Penal past
By LANCE TAPLEY  |  November 12, 2010
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Cinematic excess

Eight years after its completion, The Cremaster Cycle , Matthew Barney's interminable multi-media opus, continues to befuddle and intrigue audiences.
Matthew Barney's seven-hour Cremaster Cycle descends in the Portland Museum of Art
By ANNIE LARMON  |  November 12, 2010
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Prison Update: It's not getting any better

It's discouraging that conditions may have worsened in state prisons since the Phoenix published "Troubled Over Bridgewater" in September.

By CHRIS FARAONE  |  November 12, 2010
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The 12-Bar Blues Project releases three prisoner-produced CDs

Jim Svendsen runs Guitar Doors, a non-profit group that's going into Maine prisons to teach inmates to play music and, along the way, putting bands together.
Breaking up the band
By SAM PFEIFLE  |  November 05, 2010

AG exonerates guards

Critics of the state's prison system will press for an independent investigation after expressing dismay with the attorney general's long-delayed conclusion October 28 that Maine State Prison inmate Victor Valdez died last November from "a natural death.
Valdez prison death
By LANCE TAPLEY  |  November 05, 2010


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Pushing to remove shackles from pregnant prisoners

It sounds almost too cruel to be true: a woman inmate is shackled to a hospital bed while delivering her baby. Sadly, hundreds of women across the country endure that humiliation, an unthinkable indignity for an already downtrodden group.
Behind Bars
By ELIZABETH RAU  |  October 15, 2010

Former inmate, activist now free to speak out

Last year, when Ray Luc Levasseur was invited to speak on the University of Massachusetts — Amherst campus to commemorate the anniversary of a federal sedition trial held in Springfield, the speech prompted vehement protests from police groups and state
New releases
By RICK WORMWOOD  |  October 15, 2010
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Why did the liberals help construct our concentration camps for the poor?

Why did middle-class liberals, historically the leaders of compassionate social reform, allow, with nary a peep, the construction of our colossal Prison Complex? Two books, one new and one a few years old, explain why liberals not only went along with
Prison complex
By LANCE TAPLEY  |  September 10, 2010
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A prison obituary: the tragedy of Victor Valdez

Joking among themselves, a small group of guards entered Close E pod. "Lock up!" one of them suddenly commanded the prisoners: go to your cells.
A homicide? The state police are investigating. A cover-up? Who will investigate?
By LANCE TAPLEY  |  July 30, 2010

Dr. Lovemonkey: Home improvement?

I think that I am being played for a fool.
Dr. Lovemonkey answers your questions
By DR. LOVEMONKEY  |  April 10, 2009


Nutraloaf: Cruel and Unusual?

Nutraloaf: Cruel and Unusual?


This is Nutraloaf. Is this considered cruel and unusual punishment?     
By Charlie  |  June 30, 2008
Mega Robo Thunder Phone Query - Life In Prison or Get Rich and Die Young?

Mega Robo Thunder Phone Query - Life In Prison or Get Rich and Die Young?


Today's Question Would you rather: Be filthy rich but know you would die in a year?  ORSpend a normal life in prison?   Leave a comment...
By Special Ed  |  January 15, 2008

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