“The degree of civilization in a society,” said Dostoyevsky, “can be judged by entering its prisons.”
Civilization is something we no longer seem to aspire to. The United States locks up more people and a greater percentage of its people than anyone else. We lock them in training centers for anger and violence. We subject them to rape, assault, humiliation, and isolation. We throw the innocent in
with the guilty, the young with the old, the nonviolent with the violent, the hopeful with those who’ve lost all interest in life.
And we routinely subject large numbers of prisoners to the torture of near-total isolation. We lock human beings in little boxes for 22 or 23 hours per day. When it’s done to an accused whistleblower like Bradley Manning, we protest. But what about when it’s done to thousands of people, many of them baselessly accused of being members of gangs? Where is the outrage? http://bit.ly/PpRoe6
Nearly every state now has a “supermax” prison similar to the federal prison at Florence, which former ADX Warden Robert Hood once called “a clean version of hell.”
These prisons presage a dystopian world where disobedient citizens are sei
zed, stripped of rights and broken psychologically. Law professor Laura Rovner and Theoharis—who is an outspoken advocate for her former student Fahad Hashmi, being held in the Florence supermax—detailed the corrosion of justice within federal courts in an article in the American University Law Review.
They noted that the distortion within the federal legal system “represents a particular way of seeing the Constitution, of constructing the landscape as a murky terrain of lurking enemies where rights must have substantial limits and the courts must be steadfast against such dangers.” The two professors went on to argue that while legal scholars and human rights advocates have examined the dangers of these paradigms in Guantanamo, they have generally failed to acknowledge that “the federal system is similarly infected by such paradigms.”
There are currently an estimated 25,000 prisoners imprisoned in supermax facilities. They are disproportionately Muslims and people of color.
The prisons are equipped with special housing units for those who do not show a proper deference to authority. These “H-units” hold prisoners under special administration measures, or SAMs. They live in cells of only 75 to 85 square feet. They endure almost complete social isolation and sensory deprivation as well as round-the-clock electronic surveillance. And it is in these units that even the most resilient are psychologically destroyed. http://bit.ly/PJ9wkC
Torture: America’s Brutal Prisons
This programme shows that abuses like those documented in Abu Ghraib are commonplace in the USA’s overcrowded and understaffed prisons. Prisoners are shackled and hooded for their own protection; pepper spray is used as an alternative to physical force, but in sufficient quantities to cause second-degree burns; beatings are frequent and sometimes fatal. The programme suggests that the cause is not a few bad apples, but a pervasive culture of dehumanization and brutality. http://bit.ly/V9rO48
Supermax: Guantanamo Down The Street
I was stunned at my complete ignorance about America’s prison system. The scenarios inmates experience and described can only be termed as Bosch-like horrors.
A brief Google search quickly provides a frightening glimpse into the inferno in which inmates live. The more sites one browses, the stronger the impression that much of the tortuous practices that occurred at Guantanamo and Abu-Ghraib were honed within the confines of America’s Borders.
What occurs in American prisons is, simply, a terrifying nightmare. http://madmikesamerica.com/2011/02/supermax-guantanamo-down-the-street/
That’s right; sodomy. Forcible anal penetration. The documentation of this and other forms of sexual humiliation is too extensive to be denied or pawned off on a couple of redneck privates. And we know now that sexual humiliation techniques were among those discussed and approved by the National Security Principals Committee, a White House group including Dick Cheney, Condoleezza Rice, Donald Rumsfeld, Colin Powell, George Tenet, and John “History will not judge this kindly” Ashcroft.
I don’t want to come off as minimizing the horror of controlled drowning. It’s just that there’s something about forcible anal rape that brings the torture issue into sharp focus. Just once, I’d like to hear one of these American Enterprise Institute psychos, the ones that always trot out to defend the Neocons’ freakish obsessions, have to defend shoving a flashlight up a guy’s ass. I want to hear Frank Gaffney or Jonah Goldberg tell me why I shouldn’t be fucking mortified that raping prisoners was considered within tolerable interrogation practices by my country. I want Glenn Beck to justify butt-raping a suspect.
The next time I hear some idiot refer to Jack Bauer in defense of torture, I want to ask him what he thinks of Jack Bauer rogering terrorists with a broomstick. You’ve never seen that in the hours of not-so-subtle pro-torture TV drama we’ve seen since 2001, have you? Never saw Andy Sipowicz cornhole a skell on NYPD blue? Or Michael Chiklis on The Shield making a suspect drink his pee? Me neither. Something tells me that might have hurt their ratings. http://buffalobeast.com/137/sodomy.html