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Seven Days in Solitary [2/23/14]

Solitary confinement news roundup

The following roundup features noteworthy news, reports and opinions on solitary confinement from the past week that have not been covered in other Solitary Watch posts. • A high-profile hearing on solitary confinement will be held on Tuesday, February 25, by the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Human Rights, chaired by […]

Seven Days in Solitary [11/10/13]

Solitary confinement cell

The following roundup features noteworthy news, reports and opinions on solitary confinement from the past week that have not been covered in other Solitary Watch posts. • Lance Tapley of The Portland Phoenix provides readers with a look inside Maine State Prison’s Special Management Unit, which he describes as “a physical manifestation of the banality of […]

Reducing Solitary Confinement in Maine

In the latest issue of the Portland Phoenix, Lance Tapley interviews Maine’s new corrections commissioner, Joseph Ponte. Before Ponte’s appointment, a grassroots movement in Maine raised public awareness around use and abuse of solitary confinement in Maine State Prison’s Special Management Unit (SMU), and led to an attempt to pass legislation limiting solitary. Since he was installed last winter, Ponte has […]

Voices from Solitary: Welcome to Supermax

Pornchai Moontri was sent to Maine State Prison at the age of eighteen and has served the first 20 years of a 45-year sentence. Born in rural Thailand, he was brought to the United States at the age of eleven by his mother and American stepfather and endured years of abuse. His early life, as well […]

Maine Reduces Use of Solitary Confinement

A new article in The Crime Report describes a “dramatic reduction of solitary confinement” in Maine State Prison. The changes have taken place under the leadership of a new Commissioner of Corrections, Joseph Ponte–and under a Republican governor and state legislature. But as author Lance Tapley points out, the path to reform was paved by a grassroots political […]

Maine Cuts Supermax Population, Reforms Solitary Confinement Practices

As Lance Tapley reported last week, recent developments in Maine demonstrate the difference that reform-minded leadership can make to prison conditions, including the use and abuse of solitary confinement. Even as it has grown exponentially over recent decades, the use of solitary has generally been treated not as a human rights issue but as a matter of correctional […]

Prison Myth No. 1: “Prisoners Want to Go Into Solitary Confinement”

Guest Post by Stan Moody Editors’ note: Stan Moody is a former state representative and chaplain at the Maine State Prison, where he ministered to inmates in the supermax unit. Moody, who currently serves as pastor at the Meeting House Church in Manchester, Maine, is the author of the books Crisis in Evangelical Scholarship and McChurched: 300 Million […]

Maine Prison Whistleblower Exiled and Isolated

deane brown

For more than four years, Maine prisoner Deane Brown has faced isolation and exile for his role as a prison journalist and whistleblower.  Brown was serving a lengthy sentence for burglary and robbery in the lockdown unit of Maine State Prison when he began filing reports, by letter, which were aired on WRFR community radio in 2005. The […]

The Brutality of Supermax Confinement

Not to be missed by Solitary Watchers is a new article on supermax confinement published in the Boston Review. The piece is by Lance Tapley, known for his investigative reporting on the subject from Maine in the Portland Phoenix. This comprehensive piece, which deserves to be read in full, makes a strong case for identifying solitary confinement–and the […]

No Charges in Maine Prison Death

There will be no charges brought against prison officials in the suspicious death last year of an inmate in solitary confinement at Maine State Prison’s supermax unit, the state Attorney General’s office announced last week. We are reprinting here the better part of an article on the subject from the Portland Phoenix by Lance Tapley, who […]