Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Prison torture coverage, expanded

Published in the Portland Phoenix

Longtime Portland Phoenix contributing writer Lance Tapley's investigation of the Maine State Prison and the state's corrections system as a whole have reached a yet wider audience with the publication of an essay by Tapley in The United States and Torture: Interrogation, Incarceration, and Abuse (New York University Press, edited by Marjorie Cohn). The book is a collection of essays that describe the conditions in American prisons, and explore what political and social pressures combined to create the abusive, destructive prison system we have today. Tapley's essay, "Mass Torture in America: Notes from the Supermax Prisons," is based on his years of reporting for the Portland Phoenix, and marshals the evidence to show not only that torture (including solitary confinement) is a near-constant part of supermax prisons nationwide, but to describe the vicious and damaging nature of that abuse on tens of thousands of inmates.