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Warden Jeffrey Merrill

Latest Articles

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
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Less than equal

This story has a bias. It’s in favor of human rights for all people.
 State officials, including prejudiced human-rights commissioners, block inmate complaints
By LANCE TAPLEY  |  October 02, 2009

Miraculous Appearances

Two weeks after the Phoenix began its prison Board of Visitors interviews, which revealed the group had not produced annual reports as required by law and had not met with the Legislature's Criminal Justice Committee in years, reports for 2005, 2006,
Phoenix questions prompt action
By LANCE TAPLEY  |  August 21, 2009
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Secret, unaccountable, and co-opted

The state prison in Warren has been hammered in recent months by an inmate murder and other violence, a prisoner hunger strike, legislative investigations exposing mismanagement and poor guard morale, and a request by human-rights groups for a federal pr
If the prison Board of Visitors had done its job, it might have helped prevent several recent tragedies
By LANCE TAPLEY  |  August 14, 2009
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Prison in turmoil

Will reform have to wait for a new governor?
Investigators probe killing, stabbing, corruption allegations
By LANCE TAPLEY  |  June 19, 2009
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State sued over inmate’s death

As severely mentally ill Maine State Prison inmate Ryan Rideout prepared to hang himself from a sprinkler in his cell on the night of October 5, 2006, other inmates frantically pressed panic buttons in their cells.
Silencing alarms
By LANCE TAPLEY  |  March 05, 2008


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Sluggish response to suicide

An eyewitness to the suicide of Ryan Rideout, a 25-year-old, severely mentally ill Augusta man who hanged himself with his bedding in his Maine State Prison Supermax cell on October 5, calls into question the official version of events.
Supermax watch
By LANCE TAPLEY  |  January 03, 2007
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Death in the Supermax

A 25-year-old inmate killed himself in the state’s Supermax prison on October 5, corrections officers say. But while a Rockland newspaper quoted the prison warden as saying the inmate was not considered a suicide risk, Ryan Rideout had a long history of
Prisons
By LANCE TAPLEY  |  October 11, 2006

Miraculous appearances

Two weeks after the   Phoenix   began its Prison Board of Visitors interviews, which revealed the group had not produced annual reports as required by law and had not met with the Legislature’s Criminal Justice Committee in years, reports for 2005, 20
Phoenix questions prompt action
By  |  January 01, 1900