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 […]

Maine Legislature Votes to Study Solitary Confinement Practices--But Not to Change Them

Everyone concerned with solitary confinement has been closely watching a landmark effort in the Maine state legislature to pass a bill that would have significantly limited the practice in state prisons. On Monday that effort culminated in what some advocates have called a “gutted” version of the bill–and others see as a meaningful first step toward […]

The Maine Redemption: Bill Seeks to Restrict Use of Solitary in State's Prisons

Most Americans’ knowledge of the Maine prison system probably ends with the grim, gray penitentiary depicted in The Shawshank Redemption.  But the prison of Stephen King’s imagination is a benign place compared with the current reality of incarceration in Maine’s state prisons–especially its 100-man solitary confinement unit. Conditions in the lockdown unit have become the subject of public debate in recent […]