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Articles by Lance Tapley

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, including psychologically destructive solitary confinement of “war on terror” detainees at the Guantánamo prison camp. Some critics have even suggested criminal prosecution of the medical staff involved or, ...

Less Than Equal: State officials, including prejudiced human-rights commissioners, block Prisoner complaints

This story has a bias. It’s in favor of human rights for all people.

So if you think it’s proper for prison guards to call African-American prisoners “niggers” and gay prisoners “fags,” then this story may not be for you. If, however, you think that prisoners deserve to be treated ...

Maine Prison System’s Board of Visitors: Secret, Unaccountable and Co-Opted

The state prison in Warren has been hammered in recent months by a prisoner 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. Most recently, the state Corrections commissioner, Martin ...

Maine Prison in Turmoil

By the time Warden Jeffrey Merrill revealed on June 3 that three Maine State Prison employees had been put on paid leave as a result of a state police investigation of an inmate’s death in April, probes of corruption and other issues at the 925-prisoner lockup had already cast a ...

Wave of reform

There is now a chance to fix Maine?s broken corrections system, but only if the public speaks up


2/6/2008 11:49:12 AM

A wave of change is moving swiftly toward Maine?s jails and prisons. It could bring major reform - or a bureaucratic jumble.

Activists, inmates, and defense ...

Educating inmates


2/6/2008 4:48:35 PM

Another wave of reform is surging from Lewiston's Bates College: a movement to expand college courses for prisoners. The goal has been embraced by the state Department of Corrections.

At a Bates meeting on January 21, Max Kenner, of Bard College, gave a history ...

An Unprecedented Crime: Mass Torture in America. And How to Stop It


11/14/2007 1:49:18 PM

Editor's Note: This is an edited version of a speech given by Phoenix contributing writer Lance Tapley to a seminar at the National Lawyers Guild 70th Anniversary Convention in Washington, D.C., on October 31. The discussion was on how to use international treaties to ...

Little State, Big Problems: Maine’s Prison Crisis Continues Unabated

Little State, Big Problems: Maine?s Prison Crisis Continues Unabated

by Lance Tapley

Only big prison systems mistreat prisoners, right?

Only prison systems where racism, right-wing tough-on-crime attitudes, or prison-industrial-complex power have full reign, like in California or Texas, are failures, right?

Only prisons where gang-oriented, city-bred prisoners are divided by ...

Old Media Access Consent Decrees Violated in Maine

The Maine Department of Corrections has been violating at least two of three 35-year-old federal court orders that grant prisoners access to the press, allow them to write to newspapers, and prohibit prison officials from arbitrarily transferring prisoners out of state if they exercise their rights. The state admits two ...

Torture in Maine Prison

Torture in Maine Prison

by Lance Tapley

The mission of the Maine State Prison is to provide a safe, secure, and humane correctional environment for the incarcerated offender.

Five hollering guards wearing helmets, face shields, and full body armor charge into a mentally ill mans cell. The first attacker smashes ...