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Special Management Unit

Latest Articles

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

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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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

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

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

How can those in the box think outside of the box?

I was disgusted on multiple levels with what the article revealed about the Maine State Prison.
Letters to the Portland editor, May 14, 2010
By PORTLAND PHOENIX LETTERS  |  May 14, 2010


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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

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
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Corrections disobeys another federal court order

For decades, as it has with other court orders, the Maine Department of Corrections has apparently been breaching a 1973 federal court’s decree that forbids disciplinary solitary confinement at the Maine State Prison beyond 10 days for minor offenses, or
Solitary Confinement
By LANCE TAPLEY  |  December 18, 2009

Limiting Supermax solitary

Representative James Schatz, a Blue Hill Democrat, has proposed legislation to tightly limit when prisoners can be kept in the solitary confinement of the 100-man Supermax unit of the Maine State Prison in Warren.
 Legislation Drafted
By LANCE TAPLEY  |  October 09, 2009

Another Supermax hunger strike

Protesting that nothing had been done by prison authorities to relieve the torture of prolonged solitary confinement, on August 17 inmates of the Maine State Prison’s 100-man Special Management Unit or “Supermax” reprised a hunger strike that had been ab
Dungeon Watch
By LANCE TAPLEY  |  September 04, 2009