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The secret's out

Need free health care? Why not just go to prison?
Toontime
By MATT BORS  |  July 15, 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

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

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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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

Supermax coverage continues


Portland Phoenix contributing writer Lance Tapley has an article in the latest issue of the Boston Review. It's called "The Worst of the Worst: Supermax...
By Jeff Inglis  |  December 17, 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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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

Prisoner-rights advocates honored by MCLU


Three Mainers, all activists for prisoner-rights, will be honored by the Maine Civil Liberties Union on Friday, with the MCLU's Roger Baldwin Award, named for...
By Jeff Inglis  |  October 13, 2010

State should protect inmates’ rights

As Lance Tapley points out, denying prisoners access to human-rights protections is a mistake (see "Less Than Equal," October 2).
Letters to the Portland Editor, October 16, 2009
By PORTLAND PHOENIX LETTERS  |  October 16, 2009

Putting an end to the hunger strike

Maine State Prison officials ended a hunger strike involving at least 10 inmates of the solitary-confinement Supermax unit in Warren by threatening to withhold the strikers’ psychotropic medications, according to allegations by an inmate who participated
Prison Watch
By LANCE TAPLEY and JEFF INGLIS  |  May 15, 2009

Maine Supermax inmates on hunger strike


_By Lance TapleyAt least eight inmates of the Maine State Prison’s solitary-confinement Supermax un...
By Jeff Inglis  |  May 06, 2009