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The 13th Annual Muzzle Awards

A look at the dishonorable enemies of free speech and personal liberty in New England
A year and a half into the Age of Obama, we are learning a lesson we should have figured out long ago — that repression, once in place, is rarely rolled back all the way, and that liberals no less than conservatives are reluctant to give up power.
By DAN KENNEDY  |  July 05, 2010
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Pressing Obama for an answer

Inside Job Dept.
Convicted murderer Darrell Jones has accomplished more in the worlds of media, entertainment, and activism from behind bars over the past 25 years than most free people do in a lifetime.
By CHRIS FARAONE  |  May 27, 2010

Death penalty possible for Watland

Prison Murder
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.
By LANCE TAPLEY  |  May 26, 2010

How can those in the box think outside of the box?

Letters to the Portland editor, May 14, 2010
I was disgusted on multiple levels with what the article revealed about the Maine State Prison.
By PORTLAND PHOENIX LETTERS  |  May 13, 2010
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The Big Hurt: The week in death

 RIP Chilton, Guru, and editorial tact
Back in January, I predicted that, because of medical advances and the prospect of universal health care, no musicians would die in this decade. Unfortunately, it hasn’t turned out that way.
By DAVID THORPE  |  April 27, 2010



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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.
By LANCE TAPLEY  |  April 21, 2010
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It takes an identity thief

How Karen Keester made off with $250,000 — and became one of Boston's most accomplished con artists
In late April 2006, shortly before the hearing to evict his tenant Karen Keester, Lee Gersch received a phone call from Keester’s twin sister, Michelle. She had just gotten divorced, Michelle claimed, and needed to move to Boston from Arkansas for a new job. She suggested that she and her cat could move right into Keester’s Beacon Hill flat.
By JACLYN TROP  |  April 27, 2010

A ‘moral victory’ against supermax torture

Analysis
At times the legislative debate on LD 1611, the bill to limit solitary confinement of the state’s prisoners, became surreal.
By LANCE TAPLEY  |  April 15, 2010
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Murderabilia

A serial killer seeks a payoff
Incarcerated in a maximum-security prison in Cranston, Rhode Island, Jeff Mailhot grabbed a pen and a sheet of stationery and traced an outline of his beefy left hand.
By JOHN LARRABEE  |  April 05, 2010
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Hello, we’re Johnny Cash

Stacked all-star tribute/benefit at the RISD Auditorium
The Nave Gallery in Somerville kicks off its month-long salute to the Man in Black next week.
By CHRIS CONTI  |  March 31, 2010
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Boston film group protests arrest of Iranian director

Power of cinema?
At the Montreal Film Festival last summer, I had the pleasure of interviewing the Iranian director Jafar Panahi, who was serving as president of the international jury.
By PETER KEOUGH  |  March 24, 2010
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Maine tortures women, too

But Riverview presents an alternative
The Maine Department of Corrections is an equal-opportunity torturer.
By LANCE TAPLEY  |  March 10, 2010
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Review: A Prophet

Jacques Audiard's Scarface for the new millennium
Visionaries thrive behind bars: Dostoevsky, Martin Luther King, Malcolm X. "The truth is ugly," explains one would-be sage, Charles Manson. "So we put our prophets in prison."
By PETER KEOUGH  |  March 02, 2010
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Words from women in prison

Corrections Dept.
In her early years as a Providence police officer, Tabitha Glavin didn't think much about why women ended up in prison; her job was to put them there.
By ELIZABETH RAU  |  March 03, 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.
By LANCE TAPLEY  |  February 25, 2010
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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.
By LANCE TAPLEY  |  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.
By LANCE TAPLEY  |  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.
By LANCE TAPLEY  |  February 03, 2010
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Finding her voice

An ex-con, a village, an opera
"There is a balm in Gilead," an old African-American spiritual has it, and sure enough, Percy Talbott (Kelly Caufield) finds that balm.
By MEGAN GRUMBLING  |  January 27, 2010

A lawyer’s adventures in bad judgment

Contempt of Court
People who know Keven McKenna know he is not a stupid man. Whether or not the Providence attorney, ex-state representative, and Harold Stassen of Providence mayoral races uses good judgment is another question.
By MARY ANN SORRENTINO  |  December 21, 2009
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Corrections disobeys another federal court order

Solitary Confinement
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.
By LANCE TAPLEY  |  December 16, 2009

Can we have class dismissed?

Diverse City
What, you might ask, does Ahmed Hussein Ismail, the alleged gun-toting robber mistakenly let out of jail in Portland, have in common with Tareq and Michaele Salahi, alleged White House party-crashers?
By SHAY STEWART-BOULEY  |  December 09, 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.
By LANCE TAPLEY  |  December 10, 2009
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Missing Persons singer Dale Bozzio jailed

Swinging a Dead Cat Dept.
Missing Persons singer Dale Bozzio is sitting in an Ossipee, New Hampshire, jail after dropping her appeal of a March animal-cruelty conviction.
By ASHLEY RIGAZIO  |  November 18, 2009
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Courthouse bomber to speak about social change

Censorship averted
After it was initially canceled, a controversial talk by a radical activist will go on Thursday at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst. Ray Luc Levasseur, who grew up in Sanford, Maine, and became a radical in part due to his experiences as a soldier in Vietnam, will talk on campus in connection with a symposium on “social change.”
By RICK WORMWOOD  |  November 11, 2009

Suspect speaks; victim’s family begins $1-million-plus lawsuit

 Prison Homicide
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.
By LANCE TAPLEY  |  November 04, 2009
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Bozzio's a somewhat missing person on the west coast

Cat Crazy Dept.
As she awaits a retrial on animal-cruelty charges in New Hampshire, Missing Persons frontwoman Dale Bozzio’s troubles continue in Southern California, where she faces eviction from her San Fernando Valley home over $4400 in missing rent payments.
By ASHLEY RIGAZIO  |  October 21, 2009

State should protect inmates’ rights

Letters to the Portland Editor, October 16, 2009
As Lance Tapley points out, denying prisoners access to human-rights protections is a mistake (see "Less Than Equal," October 2).
By PORTLAND PHOENIX LETTERS  |  October 14, 2009

Injustice everywhere

Letters to the Portland Editor, October 9, 2009
Thank you for the timely interview with Harvey Silverglate.
By PORTLAND PHOENIX LETTERS  |  October 07, 2009

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