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Joseph Ponte

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Why the prison warden got fired

Getting Answers
Corrections commissioner Joseph Ponte told the Legislature's Criminal Justice Committee on January 16 that, because of state personnel law, he couldn't publicly say — until severance negotiations are finished — why he had fired, six days earlier, Maine State Prison warden Patricia Barnhart. She has said she can't say why, either.
By LANCE TAPLEY  |  January 23, 2013

Brown, ailing, to return soon

Whistleblower Update  
Prisoner Deane Brown should be back in Maine within two to three weeks, the Maine Department of Corrections notified his attorney on January 4.
By LANCE TAPLEY  |  January 09, 2013

Prison whistleblower to return to Maine

Maine corrections commissioner Joseph Ponte has notified Deane Brown, the inmate whistleblower who in 2005 was the original source for the Phoenix 's lengthy series on prison abuse, that he will be allowed to return to Maine.
By LANCE TAPLEY  |  December 26, 2012

Reducing solitary confinement

Exclusive Interview: How Maine’s corrections commissioner dropped supermax numbers by 70 percent . . . and became a national leader in prison reform (if anybody follows)
Installed by conservative Republican Governor Paul LePage last winter, Maine's new corrections commissioner, Joseph Ponte, 64, immediately set about reforming the prison system.
By LANCE TAPLEY  |  November 02, 2011

Mentally ill inmates need more help

Prison reform
Prisoner advocates would like the new Corrections commissioner to strengthen his reform of the Maine State Prison by giving more care to the many mentally ill prisoners he is releasing from often-lengthy solitary confinement into the prison's general population.
By LANCE TAPLEY  |  June 22, 2011

Top prison officials fired

Shakeup continues
In a continuing shakeup at the troubled Maine State Prison, new Corrections commissioner Joseph Ponte has fired six top officials including its controversial security chief, Deputy Warden James O'Farrell.
By LANCE TAPLEY  |  June 15, 2011

Reform comes to the supermax

New commissioner cuts population by more than half; prisoner-rights advocates help in the reform
Less than three months into his job, Maine's new corrections commissioner Joseph Ponte has begun to dramatically reform the Maine State Prison's long-troubled solitary-confinement "supermax" unit.
By LANCE TAPLEY  |  May 25, 2011

Lock-up lessons

The new corrections commissioner wants Maine prisons to learn from the state’s juvenile-treatment model
Fixing Maine’s troubled prisons is not an impossible task. In fact, if the state treated adult inmates more along the lines of how it treats juvenile offenders, prison critics — including, surprisingly, the new corrections commissioner, Joseph Ponte — think the prisons might not only become more humane, they might actually “correct” the prisoners.
By LANCE TAPLEY  |  April 14, 2011

LePage kisses the Phoenix

Valentine's Day
We are savoring the moment. It won't last long.
By LANCE TAPLEY  |  February 23, 2011

At a turning point

LePage's nominee to head Corrections has the skills to fix Maine's broken prison system. Will the governor and lawmakers give Joseph Ponte the tools?
When Joseph Ponte was told that Maine's longtime corrections commissioner Martin Magnusson had once informed the Legislature's Criminal Justice Committee, after a dramatic hostage-taking, that there were "probably 300 inmates right now with a weapon in their hand" — and that nobody at the committee meeting seemed disturbed by this information — Ponte's reaction was "I would be extremely perturbed by that."
By LANCE TAPLEY  |  February 09, 2011

New Corrections commissioner nominated

Prison administration
Joseph Ponte, 64, a veteran warden for the nation's largest private-prison operator, the Corrections Corporation of America (CCA), has been nominated by Republican Governor Paul LePage to be the state's Corrections commissioner, replacing Martin Magnusson.
By LANCE TAPLEY  |  January 27, 2011

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