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 […]

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 […]