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Death penalty possible for Watland
Gary Watland, the brilliant and mentally ill convicted murderer whose 2006 scheme to have his wife smuggle a loaded handgun into the Maine State Prison in Warren was foiled when another prisoner tipped off officials, faces a possible death penalty if convicted of a second murder.
| May 26, 2010
Radical night out in Portland
“People are upset about Guantánamo and Abu Ghraib,” Noam Chomsky told 750 people packed into the Woodfords Congregational Church last Saturday night, “but if you’re concerned about human rights, take a walk into a maximum-security prison.”
| April 28, 2010
Are doctors complicit in prison torture?
The Maine medical community looks at solitary confinement
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 professional licenses.
| April 21, 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.
| April 15, 2010
Maine tortures women, too
But Riverview presents an alternative
The Maine Department of Corrections is an equal-opportunity torturer.
| March 10, 2010
The cost of torture
Solitary Confinement Bill Hearing
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 long term.
| February 25, 2010
Screams from solitary
‘By dehumanizing prisoners, we dehumanize ourselves.’
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 confinement, officially sanctioned beatings, “restraint” devices resembling those in medieval dungeons, sexual humiliation, and psychiatric, medical, and legal neglect.
| February 17, 2010
Seeking humane treatment
State and national efforts well under way
Some Maine people are taking moral responsibility for the way supermax inmates are treated.
| February 17, 2010
Anti-solitary campaign expands
Stopping Supermax Torture
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 announced its support.
| February 03, 2010
Instead of cuts: guts
Raise taxes on the rich? Only one candidate says ‘yes’?
Let’s assume, reader, that you’re concerned about economic and social justice. For those in real need — people who are poor, sick, old, mentally ill, addicted, disabled — you want decent care. You’re concerned, too, about proper funding of schools, community colleges, and university campuses.
| January 06, 2010
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 30 days for major ones.
| December 16, 2009
A mysterious new inmate death
Prison Scandal Watch
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 died in late November.
| December 10, 2009
Suspect speaks; victim’s family begins $1-million-plus lawsuit
The widow of Sheldon Weinstein, the Maine State Prison inmate who died in April several days after allegedly being beaten by inmates, has taken the first step toward filing a wrongful-death lawsuit against prison guards, Department of Corrections “policy-making personnel,” and prison medical-care providers.
| November 04, 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.
| October 08, 2009
Less than equal
State officials, including prejudiced human-rights commissioners, block inmate complaints
This story has a bias. It’s in favor of human rights for all people.
| October 02, 2009
Gay rights in prison
A heavily tattooed, self-described Satanist serving a life sentence for savagely murdering two people in Augusta in 1998 — his 16-year-old stepdaughter and his 87-year-old former landlady — inmate John L’Heureux, 39, is probably not the man Maine’s gay-rights groups would choose to represent their cause in the state prison, if they were inclined to choose anyone there.
| October 01, 2009
Prison ‘troublemaker’ confronts racism, medical abuse
Vacillating between grit and despair — between aggressive lawsuits and suicide attempts — Deane Brown, the prisoner who in 2005 blew the whistle on the torture of mentally ill inmates at the Maine State Prison’s solitary-confinement “Supermax” unit, is struggling against prison conditions in Maryland, where he was exiled by the Baldacci administration.
| September 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 abandoned last May.
| September 02, 2009
Secret, unaccountable, and co-opted
If the prison Board of Visitors had done its job, it might have helped prevent several recent tragedies
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 probe of prisoner mistreatment.
| August 17, 2009
Phoenix questions prompt action
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, 2007, and 2008 suddenly materialized.
| August 17, 2009
Prison staffing crisis hits perilous level
“Things are as tough at the prison right now as I’ve seen them in a long time,” state Corrections commissioner Martin Magnusson told the Legislature’s Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee on July 29. He spoke about the consequences of the staff cuts that the 915-inmate, 410-employee Maine State Prison in Warren has had to endure.
| August 05, 2009
The Current Issue
Table of Contents
Where To Follow Me
| March 24, 2013 at 11:09 AM
Mo Takes His Turn
March 21, 2013 at 12:59 PM
[Q&A] KMFDM's Sascha Konietzko on art, Columbine and having balls
On The Download
| March 18, 2013 at 3:22 PM
See this film series: The Belmont World Film Series @ Studio Cinema in Belmont
Outside The Frame
| March 18, 2013 at 11:00 AM
See this film: This is Spinal Tap [with post-film talk by expert from Acoustical Society of America] @ the Coolidge
March 17, 2013 at 12:00 PM
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