Prisoner Suicide Leads to Hunger Strike at Maine State Prison

october 19, 2006  01:56 pm
Prisoner Suicide Leads to Hunger Strike at Maine State Prison
For Immediate Release
For More Information:

Peter Kadzis, executive editor, Phoenix Media/Communications Group, 617-859-3236

Jeff Inglis, managing editor, Portland Phoenix, 207-773-8900, ext. 108

Phoenix exclusive has published an exclusive story continuing the paper's award-winning coverage of conditions at the Maine State Prison in Warren.

"Hunger Strike at Maine's Supermax Prison," the story posted last night, details a hunger strike being conducted by inmates in the prison's Supermax unit, protesting conditions imposed on them following the suicide of a mentally ill Supermax prisoner on Oct. 6.

The story is the latest in a series by freelancer Lance Tapley. The first story in the series, "Torture in Maine's Prison," won a first-place 2006 AltWeekly Award for a long-form news story.

Two other prisoners have attempted to kill themselves in the past two weeks, and were saved by guards, briefly hospitalized, and returned to their cells.

Many of the inmates of the Supermax unit have mental illnesses that are either untreated or insufficiently treated, according to mental-health advocates.

Tapley, a freelancer for the Portland Phoenix since 1999, has been covering issues at the prison for nearly a year, exposing troubling conditions and receiving promises from state officials that change will occur. Those changes have yet to happen.

Links to the series of stories follow. All are written by Lance Tapley.

"Torture in Maine's Prison," November 11, 2005

"Reforming the Supermax," November 18, 2005

See a video of a prisoner "extraction" from a Supermax cell.

"Pressure Rising," March 24, 2006

Letters from Phoenix readers, March 24, 2006

"Arbitrary Imprisonment," July 21, 2006

"Death in the Supermax," October 13, 2006

"Hunger Strike at Maine's Supermax Prison," October 19, 2006