Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Phoenix freelancer honored by Maine lawyers

Published in the Portland Phoenix

Lance Tapley, a longtime freelancer for the Portland Phoenix, has been honored with the Excellence in Legal Journalism Award from the Maine State Bar Association, recognizing his work investigating inmate abuse at the Maine State Prison. Tapley will be honored at a dinner next week.

Tapley’s prison features — the first installment of which won first place in the long-form-news-story category in the nationwide competition held by the Association of Alternative Newsweeklies in 2006 — has continued for more than a year. The Portland Phoenix series has exposed physical and psychological torture of prisoners by guards, the failure of prison officials to care for mentally ill inmates, the unfulfilled promises of top-level state administrators to make reforms, and efforts by staff in the office of the state’s attorney general to obstruct court orders seeking to improve inmate treatment.