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Will LePage's zeal to cut the budget make prisoners and guards bleed?
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.
| November 10, 2010
AG exonerates guards
Valdez prison death
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."
| November 03, 2010
Infographic: Maine's would-be governors of 2010
Their ideas for changing Maine, from a progressive perspective
How gubernatorial candidates Eliot Cutler, Paul LePage, Elizabeth Mitchell, Shawn Moody, and Kevin Scott measure up.
| October 20, 2010
How progressive are Maine's gubernatorial candidates?
The gubernatorial candidates' specific ideas to make Maine better (or worse)
Political rhetoric is cheap. Does a candidate have specific, practical proposals that are fresh approaches to stubborn problems? Or are their ideas irresponsible?
| October 20, 2010
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 this right-wing, racist project — they encouraged it.
| September 08, 2010
A prison obituary: the tragedy of Victor Valdez
A homicide? The state police are investigating. A cover-up? Who will investigate?
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.
| July 28, 2010
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
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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