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Best of Boston 2009


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Lawmakers to probe prison

Several investigations begin simultaneously
For years controversy has churned over the Maine State Prison's treatment of both inmates and correctional officers. For the first time, legislators have taken action.
By LANCE TAPLEY  |  April 08, 2009

Gulf War vet 'saved' by Phoenix article

Portland Marine Corps vet shares his heart-wrenching story
Yesterday, we published "Soldiers Committing Suicide," by Jason Notte, and just hours later, Mike Fitzgerald left our Portland editor a voicemail saying he's experiencing the same things a man described in the story had.
By JEFF INGLIS  |  March 17, 2009

Soldiers committing suicide

US troops are killing themselves in record numbers
On July 22, 2004, unable to handle the intensity anymore — the daily vomiting, the feeling that he was a murderer — Lucey wrapped a garden hose around his neck and hanged himself.
By JASON NOTTE  |  March 17, 2009

Review: In a Dream

Personal collapse in impressive structure
If you find yourself groaning through the first five minutes of Jeremiah Zagar's Academy Award-shortlisted feature documentary about his artist father Isaiah, you might just be its target audience.
By CHRISTOPHER GRAY  |  February 11, 2009

Olympian anti-heroes

Sports blotter: Olympic edition
Greetings, Olympic sports fans!
By MATT TAIBBI  |  August 08, 2008

Believe it or not

Interview: Guy Maddin tells the truth
Even the titles of his films are a little weird.
By PETER KEOUGH  |  July 08, 2008

What about McCain’s mental health?

Campaign 2008
While some worry about the impact of John McCain’s age on his physical health and his potential longevity in office, others are more concerned about his mental health.
By MARY ANN SORRENTINO  |  July 02, 2008

The Double standards

Women get screwed in sex scandals — and men get a free pass
Women get screwed in sex scandals — and men get a free pass.
By MARY ANN SORRENTINO  |  May 21, 2008

State sued over inmate’s death

Silencing alarms
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.
By LANCE TAPLEY  |  March 05, 2008

Chronicle of a death foretold

Joy Division were rooted in grim finality. Now, through a series of new books, CDs, and films, the band has found new life.
What a difference a death makes.
By JAMES PARKER  |  October 24, 2007

Pleasures still unknown

Conventions take Control of Ian Curtis
Ian Curtis (Sam Riley) of the Manchester band Joy Division wrote songs that evoke, with incantatory inevitability, terror, delight, and ecstasy.
By PETER KEOUGH  |  October 24, 2007

Dangerous waits for psychiatric evaluations?

Jail watch
State officials admit delays for jail-inmate psychiatric evaluations have increased considerably.
By LANCE TAPLEY  |  August 15, 2007

Blow by blow

Massachusetts women are being stabbed, run over, burned, strangled, and shot to death
Last year, at least 34 women were murdered in Massachusetts, the highest total in several years. Sadly, 2007 is on pace to exceed last year’s bloodshed.
By DAVID S. BERNSTEIN  |  March 21, 2007

Sluggish response to suicide

Supermax watch
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.
By LANCE TAPLEY  |  January 03, 2007


What do prison officials have to hide?
If you were a reporter and you received a letter like the one excerpted below, what would you make of it? Lance Tapley discusses reporting the prisons  
By LANCE TAPLEY  |  December 14, 2006

Stonewalling is normal

 Reporting the prison system
I could cite many examples of the difficulty in reporting to the Maine public what goes on behind the cement and bureaucratic walls of the public’s prison system — especially, in reporting brutal practices. I will give just a few.
By LANCE TAPLEY  |  December 13, 2006

Quiet warfare

Few have been paying attention to that other ongoing terrorist threat
On September 11, 2006, the fifth anniversary of the terror attacks that devastated our nation, a man crashed his car into a building in Davenport, Iowa, hoping to blow it up and kill himself in the fire.
By JENNIFER L. POZNER  |  November 28, 2006

Baldacci’s ‘political prisoner’

A life at risk
John Baldacci’s administration on November 13 sent the Maine State Prison’s chief human-rights advocate, inmate Deane Brown, to a dangerous prison more than 500 miles away, in Baltimore. Brown’s lawyer and his best friend believe this decision was in retaliation for his activism, and puts his life in danger.
By LANCE TAPLEY  |  November 21, 2006

Kurt Cobain

This article originally appeared in the April 15, 1994 issue of the Boston Phoenix.
By JON GARELICK  |  November 14, 2006

Hunger strike at Maine's Supermax Prison

Suicide attempts reported
Inmates at the Maine State Prison’s solitary-confinement Supermax unit in Warren have been on a hunger strike since Saturday night. Death in the Supermax. By Lance Tapley
By LANCE TAPLEY  |  October 18, 2006

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 mental illness and suicidal behavior.
By LANCE TAPLEY  |  October 11, 2006

Suicide 2.0

Suicide web sites offer comfort for some, raise questions for others
The end of this month will mark five years since Josh G. committed suicide.
By DEIRDRE FULTON  |  April 07, 2006

Comma self

This week's sports blotter
The “comma self” murder has for decades been one of the most important innovations in American-headline literature, a testament to both our national fascination with verbal brevity and to our sociopathic, codependent relationship to deadly violence: FLA. MAN KILLS WIFE, DOG, MOTHER, ACCOUNTANT, SELF.
By MATT TAIBBI  |  March 29, 2006

They have MySpace in heaven, right?

Inevitably, the social-networking site has become a virtual graveyard
A few Thursdays ago, Larry Dobie left his daughter, äRRiel, a message on her MySpace page.
By CAMILLE DODERO  |  March 28, 2006

Hate groups

Jacob Robida: Good or bad PR for hate?
Jacob Robida, the teenager who assaulted patrons of a New Bedford gay bar and ultimately killed himself after a chase with police in Arkansas, does not appear to have been active in local neo-Nazi social circles.
By DAVID S. BERNSTEIN  |  February 09, 2006
Katrina list photo 02/10/06

Surviving Katrina

Suffering, damage in New Orleans
As one man walked down the street in New Orleans after the hurricane and subsequent levee-break, another man jumped off a building behind him and committed suicide. Later, as the man waded through the water covering a street, he stepped on something soft: a dead infant.
By ERIN RHODA  |  February 09, 2006
big thumb

Grave diggin’

Biggie Smalls’s Final Chapter
By the time most rappers drop their fourth album, either everybody’s paying attention or nobody is. In Biggie's case, the truth may lie somewhere in between.
By Chris Nelson  |  January 14, 2006

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