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Tue Apr 23, 2013, 11:35 PM

Are you more Conservative than George Will?

"they will tell you that there is such a necessity of strengthening the arm of government, that they must have a criminal equity, and extort confession by torture, in order to punish with still more relentless severity. We are then lost and undone."
- Patrick Henry, 1778


Last night, I was floored to see serious support for endless solitary confinement in a DU post and responses.

The way we treat prisoners in our country is appalling. Sure there are people who need to be off the streets, sometimes permanently, but savaging them is not what healthy societies do. It doesn't work, and it's sick. Civilized societies seek rehabilitation, not retribution.

I was surprised to come upon a recent column by George Will on the subject - Will seems to be positively Left Wing compared to some on DU with regards to solitary confinement:

When solitude is torture

“Zero Dark Thirty,” a nominee for Sunday’s Oscar for Best Picture, reignited debate about whether the waterboarding of terrorism suspects was torture. This practice, which ended in 2003, was used on only three suspects. Meanwhile, tens of thousands of American prison inmates are kept in protracted solitary confinement that arguably constitutes torture and probably violates the Eighth Amendment prohibition of “cruel and unusual punishments.”

Noting that half of all prison suicides are committed by prisoners held in isolation, Sen. Richard Durbin (D-Ill.) has prompted an independent assessment of solitary confinement in federal prisons. State prisons are equally vulnerable to Eighth Amendment challenges concerning whether inmates are subjected to “substantial risk of serious harm.”

...

Federal law on torture prohibits conduct “specifically intended to inflict severe physical or mental pain or suffering.” And “severe” physical pain is not limited to “excruciating or agonizing” pain, or pain “equivalent in intensity to the pain accompanying serious physical injury, such as organ failure, impairment of bodily functions, or even death.” The severe mental suffering from prolonged solitary confinement puts the confined at risk of brain impairment.

...

In 1890, the U.S. Supreme Court said of solitary confinement essentially what Dickens had said: “A considerable number of the prisoners fell, after even a short confinement, into a semi-fatuous condition, from which it was next to impossible to arouse them, and others became violently insane; others, still, committed suicide.” Americans should be roused against this by decency — and prudence.


In most circumstances, people who commit serious crimes are defective. Torturing them will not make them better people, and it certainly doesn't make us better people. It makes the criminals more defective, and deadens our souls.

I know I'll receive a ration of shit for this post from the "They deserve to rot in Hell, they're just getting what they deserve" crowd, but so be it. Nobody should be tortured in our country, neither al Qaeda nor pot smokers. Nobody. That's not who we are.

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Arrow 12 replies Author Time Post
Reply Are you more Conservative than George Will? (Original post)
MannyGoldstein Apr 2013 OP
olddots Apr 2013 #1
Sekhmets Daughter Apr 2013 #2
RGinNJ Apr 2013 #3
4_TN_TITANS Apr 2013 #12
nadinbrzezinski Apr 2013 #4
Spitfire of ATJ Apr 2013 #5
Tierra_y_Libertad Apr 2013 #6
Bicoastal Apr 2013 #7
blackspade Apr 2013 #10
Luminous Animal Apr 2013 #8
blackspade Apr 2013 #9
Douglas Carpenter Apr 2013 #11

Response to MannyGoldstein (Original post)

Tue Apr 23, 2013, 11:45 PM

1. You are correct

I see it too and now have more people on ignore , I hate ignoring people but something foul is going on ,too many good sights have gone down .Hope DU makes it thru this storm .

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Response to MannyGoldstein (Original post)

Tue Apr 23, 2013, 11:47 PM

2. The mark of a civilized and moral society

is how we treat the least the least among us...that includes those members of society who have broken our laws. We are neither a civilized society, nor a moral one.

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Response to MannyGoldstein (Original post)

Tue Apr 23, 2013, 11:53 PM

3. I can't believe that I agree ...

with Will but as long as he is acting like a grown up I guess I do.

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Response to RGinNJ (Reply #3)

Wed Apr 24, 2013, 01:25 PM

12. I can't believe it either.

This has to be the first time EVER that I've agreed with George Will. I completely wrote him off back in the '90's when he used to do columns for Time. In fact, he's why I let the subscription lapse. Utter nonsense is all I have ever heard from him, until this.

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Response to MannyGoldstein (Original post)

Wed Apr 24, 2013, 12:12 AM

4. While solitary is a form of torture

It will take generations for Americans to get that.

One fight at a time, dead penalty.

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Response to MannyGoldstein (Original post)

Wed Apr 24, 2013, 01:49 AM

5. DAMN!!!

I thought from the OP it was going to be a new game show modelled after "Are you smarter than a 5th grader?".

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Response to MannyGoldstein (Original post)

Wed Apr 24, 2013, 02:07 AM

6. On 24 August 2012, Oslo District Court found Breivik sane and guilty of murdering 77 people.

After the event, I don't recall the Norwegians expressing the kind of blood lust for revenge that we find here.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anders_Behring_Breivik

Anders Behring Breivik

On 24 August 2012, Oslo District Court found Breivik sane and guilty of murdering 77 people. He was sentenced to 21 years of preventive detention, a special form of prison sentence, with a minimum of 10 years and the possibility of extension for as long as he is deemed a danger to society; he will probably remain in prison for life. This is the maximum penalty in Norway. Breivik announced that he does not recognize the legitimacy of the court, and therefore does not accept its decision—though he claims he "cannot" appeal, as this would legitimize Oslo District Court.

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Response to MannyGoldstein (Original post)

Wed Apr 24, 2013, 02:22 AM

7. People who commit some crimes are also dangerous in a way that detainees weren't.

Not just defective; dangerous. And before you roll your eyes, consider that among the inmates of Supermax prisons are founders of the Aryan Brotherhood and other racially-obsessed prison gangs. Several of these men ordered or committed murders DURING their incarceration in general population, and managed to run criminal organizations that reached outside of where they resided. We're not talking about people who possess intelligence we desperately need; we're talking about men are determined to possess criminal power in the face of a lifetime of imprisonment.

Men like these pose a special challenge to our justice system. Yes, it's somewhat inhumane to keep them locked away from their fellow prisoners, but how should the state react when their actions prove they'd like nothing better than to indoctrinate prisoners of their own race/religion and kill outsiders? (Preach tolerance and love? If they're already in prison for life, what would their motivation be to listen?) It seems like some of them need to be isolated--if not permanently, than at intervals--both for their own protection and the safety of those around them. And, by extension, for our safety as well.

I'm not saying I'm not on your side; I'm just saying the issue is more complicated than being less liberal than one pundit.

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Response to Bicoastal (Reply #7)

Wed Apr 24, 2013, 03:48 AM

10. I see your point of view....

but I don't agree with your causality.
Prison gangs are the result of systemic problems in prisons.
They are not the root of prison problems, they are a symptom.

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Response to MannyGoldstein (Original post)

Wed Apr 24, 2013, 02:49 AM

8. Kick.

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Response to MannyGoldstein (Original post)

Wed Apr 24, 2013, 03:33 AM

9. DU REC!

Excellent OP.

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Response to MannyGoldstein (Original post)

Wed Apr 24, 2013, 07:28 AM

11. thank you -- knr

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