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cali Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-12-06 08:16 AM
Original message
Supermax Prisons Are Torture. Period.
Edited on Tue Dec-12-06 08:17 AM by cali
I'm troubled by the elation expressed by some about Eric Rudolph's incarceration in a Supermax Prison in Florence, CO. The mocking comments on that thread, remind me of nothing so much as bushco when he was Govenor of Texas, mocking a woman on death row who was pleading for clemency.

Yes, what Rudolph did was heinous, and he deserves a long prison term, but if you know anything about Supermax prisons, you know that these facilities are not legitimate institutions.

Heres what HRW (Human Rights Watch) has to say about the abuses of Supermax prisons:

http://www.hrw.org/reports/2000/supermax/Sprmx002.htm


Here's another perspective from the book "Criminal Injustice":

http://www.thirdworldtraveler.com/Prison_System/Superma...


And a story from Alternet

http://www.alternet.org/columnists/story/18819 /


There's plenty more. Just google Supermax and torture.

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Freddie Stubbs Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-12-06 08:25 AM
Response to Original message
1. Prison is supposed to be an unpleasant place where criminals are punished
Edited on Tue Dec-12-06 08:42 AM by Freddie Stubbs
You could make an argument that any incarceration is torture. Most Americans won't buy this argument.
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ixion Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-12-06 08:29 AM
Response to Reply #1
3. there is a large difference between imprisonment and solitary confinement
locking a human in a box without stimuli is one of the best ways to drive a person insane. Driving someone insane certainly constitutes cruel and unusual punishment, IMO.
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Freddie Stubbs Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-12-06 08:45 AM
Response to Reply #3
8. That may be your definition, but I don't think that most Americans would agree with you
Rudolph is lucky that he is not on death row.
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mondo joe Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-12-06 09:01 AM
Response to Reply #8
17. Would it be the same majority that believes in WMD? Or that gay couples should not
be allowed to marry? Or that spying on citizens is acceptable?

Fallacy, fallacy, fallacy.
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Freddie Stubbs Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-12-06 09:17 AM
Response to Reply #17
35. That what happens when you live in a society where the
government is derives it's power from the voters.
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mondo joe Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-12-06 09:48 AM
Response to Reply #35
40. Indeed. But it has nothing to do with your fallacious implication.
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ComerPerro Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-12-06 12:39 PM
Response to Reply #35
99. so then there is no reason to impeach Bush or end the Iraq war?
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Freddie Stubbs Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-12-06 01:53 PM
Response to Reply #99
140. Did the voters elect representatives who promised to do so?
:shrug:
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ComerPerro Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-12-06 02:05 PM
Response to Reply #140
141. no, they did not.
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zreosumgame Donating Member (862 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-12-06 06:07 PM
Response to Reply #8
166. 'most americans' still think there are WMD's in Iraq...
now, what was your point again?
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Imperialism Inc. Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-13-06 07:46 AM
Response to Reply #166
200. He has none. Argumentum ad populum is fallacious and not
an argument that should be taken seriously.
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Freddie Stubbs Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-13-06 11:26 AM
Response to Reply #166
204. My point is that the American people are not very sympathetic to convicted murderers and
neither are the representatives which they elect.
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derby378 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-12-06 11:06 AM
Response to Reply #3
64. Quakers learned that the hard way with Eastgate State Penitentiary
It was a Quaker-run prison up in Pennsylvania around 200 years ago, the Colonial equivalent of ADX. Solitary confinement for the duration of your sentence, with occasional time out in the yard for fresh air, exercise, and meditation. It was believed that perpetual solitude would foster true repentance for one's misdeeds and prevent contamination from other prisoners who would simply teach one how to be a better criminal. But too many inmates went mad at Eastgate. I think it was a 40% insanity rate. The Quakers who ran the place finally realized that humans were more dependent on social contact than they previously realized. The project was deemed a failure, and the prison eventally shut down.
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Patiod Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-12-06 11:23 AM
Response to Reply #64
72. Eastern State
my SO used to be a tour guide there.

The prison opened in 1839. They didn't stop the solitary confinement until 1913, but it had begun to break down after the Civil War. And ironically, the Quakers were and still are among those in the forefront of prison reform.

And the prison wasn't shut down as an actual place of incarceration until 1970

But your essential point is valid. Solitary confinement is torture - Eastern State proved that. Hello!!!! We've been there, tried that, and IT DIDN"T WORK!!!!!

/what are the odds that your post would be read by someone intimately familiar with Eastern State (and is also a Quaker)? We've spent hours there exploring - my SO had to sleep there one night (alone) when he couldn't get a ride home. It's supposed to be haunted, but we think that the huge population of bats, rats and cats may have led folks to that belief....
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derby378 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-12-06 11:47 AM
Response to Reply #72
83. Oops! You're right...
It was Eastern State Penitentiary. And I had no idea that perpetual SC was continued for that long.
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Patiod Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-12-06 12:14 PM
Response to Reply #83
92. My SO occassionally had former inmates on tours
or guards, sometimes. He said those were REALLY interesting tours (he always expected to hear "hey honey, here's where I shanked South Philly Bill!")
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cali Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-12-06 08:31 AM
Response to Reply #1
4. I suggest you read some of the links n/t
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Freddie Stubbs Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-12-06 08:46 AM
Response to Reply #4
9. I did
Rudolph and his ilk are lucky to not be on death row.
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NNN0LHI Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-12-06 08:39 AM
Response to Reply #1
5. Rehabilitation, not punishment, is what a civilized society strives for
Everyone comes out ahead that way.

Don
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The Straight Story Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-12-06 08:43 AM
Response to Reply #5
6. If I could K&R a post, your's would be it (nt)
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Freddie Stubbs Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-12-06 08:44 AM
Response to Reply #5
7. Should Mr. Rudolph be rehabilitated?
Then what? Should a rehabilitated man finish his life sentence?
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The Straight Story Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-12-06 09:00 AM
Response to Reply #7
16. What does 'rehabilitated' mean really?
To change your ideas, your actions, etc?

Let's say you change the mind of a hateful person and they learn, they see the light as it were.

Then what? Do you leave them locked up where they can now do no good because before they did harm?

Perhaps a life sentence where they cannot harm others is ok - even when they no longer desire to do so. But then you must wonder - if someone can change and do good for many others where before they did bad, should that be tossed to the wayside in the name of justice?

Someone did bad. Now they want to do good. Do we deny them the ability to do good and make amends, or do we keep punishing them? This is different then letting them out of their confines. We can rehabilitate and still have societal punishment/restitution. It comes down to though - do we want them to 'suffer'?

I once corresponded with an inmate when I was 16 (I am 41 now). The guy is probably out now, but he realized his errors and wanted to balance out the scales and make life better for others - instead of doing things for himself as he had done before.

We suck the negative into our prison system, and then when they change to the positive we keep them there in the same conditions as people who have not yet changed. And sadly they may well fall back into the negative.

The solution? Perhaps gradients in prison where people who change can be given more freedoms to help others and in return we help them with their issues/needs. People are not in prison simply because they are 'evil' - they are there because we as a society have let them down either through education and leadership or due to one of many other things.

Most inmates I knew wanted the same things I did in life, but lacked the ability to get it and chose crime. Many lacked education or a solid foundation.

But for the grace of god there I go. * and crew could make us out to be criminals next, those with the might make right :)

We often lack the desire to know why and only want to punish the thing done. Life is not in a vacuum - and trying to change things is a good idea. Sure, maybe he will stay in prison for all he has done, but that does not mean he has to suffer and cannot contribute to the good of others now.
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Freddie Stubbs Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-12-06 09:05 AM
Response to Reply #16
23. So, if someone with a life sentence pretends to be rehabilitated
they should be given more privledges and perhaps even released?
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zreosumgame Donating Member (862 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-12-06 06:10 PM
Response to Reply #23
167. you are really into false choices and logical fallacies aren't you?
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YOY Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-13-06 12:16 PM
Response to Reply #16
207. Thanks SS. It brings up the question that really is at the root of all of this:
What is the purpose of a prison system?

Is it a

1. Place to punish people who have done wong.
2. A place to reform criminals to be better citizens.
3. An oubliett to shove off the dregs of society.

Regretfully, all those convicted of a crime fit into deserving a single one of those categories... A gradiated system would fit that statement.
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Hippo_Tron Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-12-06 01:21 PM
Original message
I'd imagine he'd be a lot easier for the guards to handle if rehabilitated
But I don't think that he should be let out after rehabilitated.
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Bake Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-12-06 11:36 AM
Response to Reply #5
77. Ideally, rehab is the goal.
I'm not sure it is always possible, however.

So what's the alternative to a supermax?

Bake
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geek tragedy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-12-06 11:53 AM
Response to Reply #5
88. No, the point of punishment is to deter
people from committing wrongful acts in the first place.

Rehabilitation is a secondary concern.
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Anakin Skywalker Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-12-06 07:38 PM
Response to Reply #5
179. You Think a COMMITED Rightwinger Like Rudo Can Be Rehabilitated?
Not being rude, just asking. When people are guided by religious convictions, it is extremely difficult to reason with them.
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NNN0LHI Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-12-06 07:51 PM
Response to Reply #179
183. I think anyone can be rehabilitated under the right circumstances
I am not suggesting it is easy, or cheap, but given enough time and funding, yes I do think anyone can be rehabilitated.

And I do realize the chance of recidivism will always there. But I think it can be done.

Don

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ninkasi Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-13-06 01:37 AM
Response to Reply #5
196. I agree
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fujiyama Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-13-06 02:58 AM
Response to Reply #5
199. Rehabilitation is a noble goal
but is meaningless in the case of murderers and other violent criminals.

Rudolph and the like deserve strict life sentences and solitary confinement sounds fair as well.

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mntleo2 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-12-06 09:15 AM
Response to Reply #1
34. I Don't Agree
...if people knew what is going on in those prisons, and if they have a lick of sense, they would see that making a worse criminal out of someone is not going to do a damn thing for society. Humane treatment is important not only because it is a mark of an evolving civilization, but it is prudent because many of these prisoners WILL leave that facility. Which would you rather have in your community ~ a bitter, angry, hardened criminal or someone who is truly sorry for what they have done and ready to change? I do not think a raped, beaten, demeaned person can come out of a place like that and become a good citizen. Most of the time they will have the attitude, "What was done to me in your name and with your permission, I am going to do to you ..."

We always assume that criminals will remain in prison forever. Not true. Locking someone away for years is already a terrible punishment. To lock them into a torture chamber only creates domestic terrorists.

But then, perhaps you are right. I don't have much faith that Americans get it as we can see from the past 20 years or so. They are in denial about what has happened in the past, pretending to be too busy watching Fox news rather than hearing the truth from people who have lived the results of American complacency about their leaders. Because of our harsh treatment of people around the world, many if not most Americans refuse ask why we have so many enemies we have today, cultivated by the leaders in power right now. They refuse to look at the neo-con terrorists we have right here in this country, many of them groomed in facilities like the one in CO. They won't look at the wars we have participated in and will for years to come in other countries because of the cruel hubris we have imposed. They refuse to understand why crimes rates rise in their own communities when harsh punishment is imposed, such as when we impose the death penalty and the rise in murders that soon follows. Our past cruelty is like dropping a rock into the water and the ripples that winnow out from the center. Have we learned a damn thing from our past deeds? No! It is still a "hang 'em high" attitude for our own people as well as for people abroad.

We are paying the price of that cruelty now and it is escalating. There are few who will have the sense to stand up and say we need to start here at home with humane treatment of our own people, and Americans seem oblivious refusing to finally accept a universal truth; humane treatment breeds humane actions and violence breeds violence. This is why people are dying in Iraq and Afghanistan right now.

My 2 cents

Cat In Seattle
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WinkyDink Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-12-06 04:58 PM
Response to Reply #1
158. No, it isn't. It is supposed to be confinement paired with rehabilitation.
"Unpleasant" isn't part of society's deal with the convicted.
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citizen snips Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-12-06 07:13 PM
Response to Reply #1
175. I agree
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SmokingJacket Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-13-06 11:36 AM
Response to Reply #1
205. But a line has to be drawn somewhere.
I don't think keeping a person in, say, an iron coffin for ten years would be acceptable to most Americans.

Nor would prisons that resemble luxury hotel suites.

We have to decide at what point does deprivation and isolation constitute unacceptable torture. I would put that point several steps closer to your average county prison cell than to Supermax. I think people -- even evil criminals -- need to see other people and to move around and get a breath of fresh air once in a while.

Where would you put it?
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ixion Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-12-06 08:27 AM
Response to Original message
2. I agree. Celebrating the suffering of anyone, no matter how malicious
is really lowering yourself to their level, IMO.

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wakeme2008 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-12-06 08:46 AM
Response to Original message
10. Sorry Supermax is the right place for ppl like Rudolph and the Unibomber
These terrorist are NOT to be pussy footed around with...

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cali Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-12-06 08:48 AM
Response to Reply #10
11. You can protect society
without resorting to the measures taken in a supermax.
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wakeme2008 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-12-06 08:53 AM
Response to Reply #11
13. Sorry they do not have a nice Tea Time
The Supermax they are in is new, they have a nice cell with a shower, TV and access to books. They have medical that a lot of Americans do not have. The have three meals a day, again something not all Americans have.

WHAT THE FUCK MORE do you want for these Terrorist that have killed people!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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cali Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-12-06 08:58 AM
Response to Reply #13
14. Read the HRW report!
This isn't about tea time or niceties, and your characterization of life in a supermax cell is fucking laughable. Read the testimony of human rights workers, psychiatrists and former inmates.

What the fuck do I want? I want the U.S. NOT to torture people whether it's Jose Padilla or Eric Rudolph, whether it's here at home or abroad.
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wakeme2008 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-12-06 09:01 AM
Response to Reply #14
18. Answer the question
You can not. These people are not Tortured.

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mondo joe Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-12-06 09:03 AM
Response to Reply #18
21. I can answer it. What do I want for them? Humane, highly secure imprisonment.
That would do.
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uppityperson Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-12-06 12:29 PM
Response to Reply #21
96. That is what I want also.
Humane highly secure imprisonment. Not torture.
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cali Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-12-06 09:06 AM
Response to Reply #18
24. You. Are. Just. Plain. Wrong.
And what question haven't I answered? The Human Rights Watch report lays out exactly what conventions Supermaxes violate and spell out why it is indeed torture. You don't like what the experts there have to say, take it up with them.

Here's a question for you: Do you think what they did to Padilla was torture?
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wakeme2008 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-12-06 09:08 AM
Response to Reply #24
26. How were they tortured..
Where they waterboarded... fingernails pulled out... HOW THE FUCK WERE THEY TORTURED??????????????????????/

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cali Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-12-06 09:12 AM
Response to Reply #26
31. Read the fucking reports.
Read about the mental status of Padilla and others subjected to this kind of treatment. that's why I put the links in the OP.

And respond to my question about Padilla.
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wakeme2008 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-12-06 09:14 AM
Response to Reply #31
33. We are not talking about Padilla but the Unibomber
Edited on Tue Dec-12-06 09:14 AM by wakeme2008
and the Olympic Bomber... Padilla WAS NEVER IN SUPERMAX... Stop confusing ppl
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cali Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-12-06 09:24 AM
Response to Reply #33
37. He was treated in much the same manner
as those in Supermax. Extreme isolation and deprivation of all human contact and practically all stimuli is torture. It makes people crazy. As for your claim that they're allowed reading materials, etc., quite often that is NOT true.
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treestar Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-12-06 10:36 AM
Response to Reply #31
58. Padilla was detained without cause, so you might get some
sympathy for him.

But in an era of a government that would detain indefinitely and punish without trial, this fire is low on the list of fires to put out.

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muriel_volestrangler Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-12-06 10:23 AM
Response to Reply #24
50. HRW says it's torture for the mentally ill
Deprivation of sources of stimulation, human contact, and activity that may not be unbearably cruel for some inmates can become torture when imposed on mentally ill inmates.


HRW doesn't think supermax prisons are "torture. Period"; they think they are overused, and that external oversight is needed to make sure they're only used when justified for violent prisoners, and that real reviews of prisoners' statuses are needed.

Rudolph is corresponding regularly with a newspaper; it would seem his basic mental state is still fine. He also has that contact with the outside world.
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cali Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-12-06 12:12 PM
Response to Reply #50
91. That's only one of the statements HRW
makes regarding their view that Supermaxes are torture. I suggest you go back and read it more carefully. And as Rudolph just got there, that his mental status is still relatively OK, or whatever, that observation is hardly on point.
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muriel_volestrangler Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-12-06 12:19 PM
Response to Reply #91
94. I read it, and gave the cirumstances for which they claim it's "torture"
The other mention of the word in the piece:

According to these standards, corrections authorities must respect the inherent dignity of each inmate and may not subject prisoners to treatment that constitutes torture or that is cruel, inhuman, or degrading. Unfortunately, state and federal corrections departments are operating supermax facilities in ways that violate basic human rights.


So it's the way they are operated that can be a violation of human rights, not the concept.

It's not just that Rudolph's mental state is still OK; it's also that he regularly gets to read and send letters. There may be other things that are allowed, such as reading books. Some supermax prisons allow radio or TV. The link you gave for HRW doesn't back up your blanket definition as 'torture'.
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cali Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-12-06 12:41 PM
Response to Reply #94
102. Oh for the love of Pete. Here:
Supermax confinement, no less than any other, is subject to human rights standards contained in treaties signed by the United States and binding on state and federal officials.1 According to these standards, corrections authorities must respect the inherent dignity of each inmate and may not subject prisoners to treatment that constitutes torture or that is cruel, inhuman, or degrading. Unfortunately, state and federal corrections departments are operating supermax facilities in ways that violate basic human rights. 2 The conditions of confinement are unduly severe and disproportionate to legitimate security and inmate management objectives; impose pointless suffering and humiliation; and reflect a stunning disregard of the fact that all prisoners -- even those deemed the "worst of the worst" -- are members of the human community.

There is no way, of course, to measure the misery and suffering produced by prolonged supermax confinement. Inmates have described life in a supermax as akin to living in a tomb. At best, prisoners' days are marked by idleness, tedium, and tension. But for many, the absence of normal social interaction, of reasonable mental stimulus, of exposure to the natural world, of almost everything that makes life human and bearable, is emotionally, physically, and psychologically destructive. Prisoners subjected to prolonged isolation may experience depression, despair, anxiety, rage, claustrophobia, hallucinations, problems with impulse control, and/or an impaired ability to think, concentrate, or remember. As one federal judge noted, prolonged supermax confinement "may press the outer bounds of what most humans can psychologically tolerate

The report is clear. Your parsing is dishonest.
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muriel_volestrangler Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-12-06 12:57 PM
Response to Reply #102
108. And I'll give you the closing paragraph:
Principled leadership, careful staff training and supervision, and effective internal review processes can help minimize the possibilities of unnecessary supermax confinement as well as abusive conduct by correctional officers. But external and independent scrutiny is also important. Press and citizen group access to supermax officials and inmates, for example, can help deter abuses and promote public accountability. Constructive dialogue with public groups can lead to the identification and development of more humane and productive prison practices. Unfortunately, all too many corrections officials seek to deny the public information about prison operations, restrict media access to inmates, and refuse to permit private groups to inspect their facilities. Moreover, few states have an impartial and independent authority, such as an ombudsman or inspector general, that can monitor supermax conditions and provide inmates with an effective recourse against arbitrary security level decisions or mistreatment.


That's their conclusion. That was what I paraphrased. They do not say all confinement in supermax prisons is 'torture'. I am not being dishonest.
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cali Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-12-06 01:14 PM
Response to Reply #108
118. I don't know why I'm allowing myself to be drawn into this with you
First of all the title of my OP was my opinion. I didn't claim it was what HRW said, though I do read that report differently than you. Frankly, as far as I'm concerned anyone who can't figure out that years and years of isolation and little stimuli, drive humans around the bend, and thus is torture, isn't using the barest minimum of common sense. And the condemnation of Supermaxes is hardly relegated to HRW. They've been roundly condemned by many organizations and experts. But, hey, you want to sign up in defense of such barbaric treatment, have at it! I think you and others of your ilk are on the wrong side of the equation.
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Lydia Leftcoast Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-12-06 01:23 PM
Response to Reply #13
125. Wow, three free meals, a free orange jumpsuit, and a free bed
not to mention a free dog run to exercise in, so that they don't have to pay health club dues! :sarcasm:
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LeftofU Donating Member (421 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-12-06 11:49 AM
Response to Reply #11
86. supermax or level 5 in
is to protect other inmates.
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wicket Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-12-06 08:49 AM
Response to Original message
12. Agree completely cali
:hi:
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StrictlyRockers Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-12-06 08:59 AM
Response to Reply #12
15. Agree with cali. Disagree with wakeme2008.
Two wrongs don't make a right. I learned that in kindergarten. Apparently, some did not.
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wakeme2008 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-12-06 09:02 AM
Response to Reply #15
20. These people are Terrorist that have killed people
what goodies do you want the assholes to have. Tea Times... Cruises.... Ski Vacations..
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mondo joe Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-12-06 09:04 AM
Response to Reply #20
22. Straw man.
Asking for humane treatment has nothing to do with ski vacations.

Please try to be honest.
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wakeme2008 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-12-06 09:09 AM
Response to Reply #22
28. What is NOT humane with Supermax
????????/
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mondo joe Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-12-06 09:47 AM
Response to Reply #28
39. Isolation, lack of stimulation.
If you treated a dog like that most would think you were torturing it.
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Anakin Skywalker Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-12-06 07:41 PM
Response to Reply #39
180. Fine. We Should Supply Video Games for Them!
Let's donate some Playstation 3, Nintendo Wii and Micro$uck XBoxes! There! OK?
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mondo joe Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-13-06 09:53 AM
Response to Reply #180
203. I'd think an evidence-based prison program would be better.
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LSK Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-12-06 04:31 PM
Response to Reply #22
156. totally!!!
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StrictlyRockers Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-12-06 09:06 AM
Response to Reply #20
25. If your brother went insane and blew people up, how would you want him treated?
That's probably what I would settle for, too. I wouldn't want my insane brother tortured, not at all.

NO ONE here said anything about ski trips, pal.
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cali Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-12-06 09:09 AM
Response to Reply #20
27. What crap.
Ski vacations, cruises, tea time. Way to marginallize yourself. Here's what I want: Humane treatment of those incarcerated, and you're damn straight that that includes some human contact as well as some monitoring of the treatment those incarcerated, get.
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wakeme2008 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-12-06 09:11 AM
Response to Reply #27
29. WHAT THE FUCK MORE DO THESE ASSHOLE need
they have medical, a clean cell, food.. TV books..
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mondo joe Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-12-06 09:49 AM
Response to Reply #29
41. Straw man. One can be tortured but have a clean cell and food. You're using the
Rush Limbaugh "Club Gitmo" argument.
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wakeme2008 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-12-06 10:47 AM
Response to Reply #41
59. You have no clue what the meaning of straw man is do you
:shrug:

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cali Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-12-06 10:57 AM
Response to Reply #59
61. LOL!
Your "tea parties" and "cruises" are classics, and you're accusing Mondo Joe of not having a clue? You really are too much.
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MonkeyFunk Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-12-06 11:00 AM
Response to Reply #59
62. No, I think he got it pretty right....
You set up an argument he never made, and then you knocked it down.

You pretended he wanted hot-stone massages and digital cable for prisoners, then you mocked him for it.

That's a straw-man argument.
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cali Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-12-06 11:09 AM
Response to Reply #62
65. No one on this thread
advocated "goodies" for prisoners in supermax prisons.

He wrote:

These people are Terrorist that have killed people
what goodies do you want the assholes to have. Tea Times... Cruises....

And you're, er, mistaken or worse that I said jackshit about hot stone massages and digital cable for prisoners.\

Show me ANYTHING I wrote that even comes close to that kind of argument.

Of course his was a straw man argument. He was insinuating that those who stated supermax is a form of torture wanted to pamper prisoners when that wasn't remotely the argument.
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MonkeyFunk Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-12-06 11:12 AM
Response to Reply #65
66. I'm on your side
Cali... did you mean to reply to me?
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cali Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-12-06 11:33 AM
Response to Reply #66
75. Oops , sorry
I know you're on my side here. My mistake.
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Name removed Donating Member (0 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-12-06 11:19 AM
Response to Reply #65
69. Deleted message
Message removed by moderator. Click here to review the message board rules.
 
MonkeyFunk Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-12-06 11:22 AM
Response to Reply #69
70. No
YOU'RE the reason Liberals are big giant suck-ass losers who can only be pale imitations of fascists.

If you buy into the whole fake argument that "who can torture criminals worse" is one worth fighting, you've already lost.
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mondo joe Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-12-06 11:48 AM
Response to Reply #69
85. There you go with the straw man again. No one has suggested they
want killers pampered - simply treated humanely.

Your "Why do you want the terrorists to win" style argument is pretty low.
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Name removed Donating Member (0 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-12-06 12:15 PM
Response to Reply #85
93. Deleted message
Message removed by moderator. Click here to review the message board rules.
 
mondo joe Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-12-06 12:21 PM
Response to Reply #93
95. I told you what more I want: humane treatment, which would mean
NOT keeping prisonors in near total isolation.
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bloom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-12-06 12:40 PM
Response to Reply #95
100. And what of the type of prisoners
who will kill other prisoners and the guards if they have the chance?

How do you give people access to people who have abused that access?



That is what the question is.
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mondo joe Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-12-06 01:12 PM
Response to Reply #100
117. In very limited, highly regulated ways. But the isolation is not the
only aspect of the Supermax that is troubling.

http://www.amnesty.org/ailib/intcam/women/report7.html

In the past few years, many US states have built "super-maximum security" (or "supermax") facilities designed to house prisoners in long-term isolation in particularly restrictive conditions. Sometimes entire prisons are designated supermax facilities; others are units within prisons. Prisoners in these facilities may be confined for nearly 24 hours a day in sometimes windowless cells with solid doors, with no work, training or other programs. The facilities are designed to minimize contact between staff and inmates, and prisoners are often subjected to regimes of extreme social isolation and reduced sensory stimulation. The length of time inmates are assigned to such units varies, but some prisoners spend years, or even their whole sentence, in isolation.

Amnesty International believes that conditions in many US supermax facilities violate international standards for the humane treatment of prisoners and exceed what is necessary for security purposes. Both the UN Human Rights Committee and the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture have expressed concern about conditions in such facilities.
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wakeme2008 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-12-06 01:00 PM
Response to Reply #95
110. Read #36 and tell me about prisoners being killed by other prisoners
is OK with you.

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mondo joe Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-12-06 01:10 PM
Response to Reply #110
116. I don't need to read it to know my answer: no, it's not. NT
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wakeme2008 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-12-06 01:21 PM
Response to Reply #116
123. So what is wrong with Supermax
If you put a pedophile in general pop and he gets killed .. you are upset...

If you put a pedophile in solitary .. you are upset...

Nothing but freeing the pedophile will make you happy....


:grr:


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mondo joe Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-12-06 01:25 PM
Response to Reply #123
127. Please stop lying by saying things like "Nothing but freeing the pedophile
will make you happy...."

That's quite uncalled for, and betrays a lack of confidence in your own position.

What's wrong with Supermax?

http://www.amnesty.org/ailib/intcam/women/report7.html
In the past few years, many US states have built "super-maximum security" (or "supermax") facilities designed to house prisoners in long-term isolation in particularly restrictive conditions. Sometimes entire prisons are designated supermax facilities; others are units within prisons. Prisoners in these facilities may be confined for nearly 24 hours a day in sometimes windowless cells with solid doors, with no work, training or other programs. The facilities are designed to minimize contact between staff and inmates, and prisoners are often subjected to regimes of extreme social isolation and reduced sensory stimulation. The length of time inmates are assigned to such units varies, but some prisoners spend years, or even their whole sentence, in isolation.

Amnesty International believes that conditions in many US supermax facilities violate international standards for the humane treatment of prisoners and exceed what is necessary for security purposes. Both the UN Human Rights Committee and the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture have expressed concern about conditions in such facilities.

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wakeme2008 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-12-06 01:50 PM
Response to Reply #127
138. You just want to free the assholes. nothing else will make you happy
:grr:


Get a life.
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mondo joe Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-12-06 01:52 PM
Response to Reply #138
139. I don't see why you'd choose to say that, since it is not my position.
Is that your best argument?
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Bjorn Against Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-12-06 07:41 PM
Response to Reply #138
181. Didn't you claim you were not using strawmen...
Edited on Tue Dec-12-06 07:43 PM by MN Against Bush
Find one single quote where ANYONE suggested freeing the prisoners.

If you can not find one then you are not only using a strawman argument, but you are straight up lying.
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Lydia Leftcoast Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-12-06 01:27 PM
Response to Reply #93
131. If it's so wonderful, I suggest you try living under those conditions
for a while.
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wakeme2008 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-12-06 11:18 AM
Response to Reply #62
67. The poster would not say what pampering he thought these killers needed
they are admitted killers and are in a Supermax prison.

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MonkeyFunk Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-12-06 11:25 AM
Response to Reply #67
74. And that right there
is your strawman.

Nobody ever suggested "pampering" inmates.

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Name removed Donating Member (0 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-12-06 11:41 AM
Response to Reply #74
79. Deleted message
Message removed by moderator. Click here to review the message board rules.
 
MonkeyFunk Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-12-06 11:43 AM
Response to Reply #79
80. I win
n/t
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Selatius Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-12-06 11:48 AM
Response to Reply #79
84. You haven't even read the Human Rights Report, have you?
Just because a person says these prisons fail to meet even minimum human rights standards is not tantamount to saying that people like the Unabomber should be coddled.
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cali Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-12-06 11:38 AM
Response to Reply #67
78. This is ridiculous.
I am not advocating any pampering. You're so far off base, that you can't have any sort of a rational discussion here. You're just flailing about. I provided links explaining precisely why Supermax prisons are effectively torture, in that prolonged isolation and deprivation of stimuli break down both the human mind and sometimes the body. You either don't want to accept that that's true, or you support such cruelty. Fine. That's certainly you're right, just as it's my right to find such a position morally repugnant and intellectually bankrupt. In any case, I'm done with you.

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Jcrowley Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-12-06 01:28 PM
Response to Reply #67
133. Here's what goes on
Savaged by dogs, Electrocuted With Cattle Prods, Burned By Toxic Chemicals, Does such barbaric abuse inside U.S. jails explain the horrors that were committed in Iraq?

By Deborah Davies

They are just some of the victims of wholesale torture taking place inside the U.S. prison system that we uncovered during a four-month investigation for BBC Channel 4 . Its terrible to watch some of the videos and realise that youre not only seeing torture in action but, in the most extreme cases, you are witnessing young men dying.

The prison guards stand over their captives with electric cattle prods, stun guns, and dogs. Many of the prisoners have been ordered to strip naked. The guards are yelling abuse at them, ordering them to lie on the ground and crawl. Crawl, motherf*****s, crawl.

If a prisoner doesnt drop to the ground fast enough, a guard kicks him or stamps on his back. Theres a high-pitched scream from one man as a dog clamps its teeth onto his lower leg.Another prisoner has a broken ankle. He cant crawl fast enough so a guard jabs a stun gun onto his buttocks. The jolt of electricity zaps through his naked flesh and genitals. For hours afterwards his whole body shakes.

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article8451.ht...

Just a sample. Sorry can't get with this. Maybe instead of focusing on the prisoners we could focus on conditions that create these behaviors. however addressing root causes does not seem to be in vogue these days and doesn't set weel in Authoritarian Cultures.
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mondo joe Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-12-06 11:47 AM
Response to Reply #59
82. As I recall, it's a fallacious argument in which one person ignores another's
actual position, and instead misrepresents that position with distorted or ridiculous substitute.
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Zodiak Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-13-06 08:20 AM
Response to Reply #59
201. Sorry wakeme, as an outsider not in this fight
You are getting your butt handed to you. Your tea time argument is most definitely a strawman.
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H2O Man Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-12-06 09:02 AM
Response to Original message
19. It's a shame
that citizens are so unfamiliar with the US penal system. While people should have consequences for committing crimes, and that includes incarceration as "punishment," the brutal nature of the jails and prisons in America is not making our society "safer."
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wicket Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-12-06 10:24 AM
Response to Reply #19
51. Amen H2O Man
:kick:
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Octafish Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-12-06 10:39 PM
Response to Reply #19
191. It's 'cheaper' than the alternative: a society where everyone is cherished.
Expense of creating a just society, to the monied class, is unacceptable burden -- meaning it would cost them a percentage of their loot.

Fixing society's ills -- from unemployment to education to homelessness to hunger to illness -- is expensive.

That's why they prefer spending money to keep a man incarcerated for year -- still more expensive than sending him to Harvard for a year.

It's important for the Order to demonstrate the pyramid, the hierarchical nature of society with themselves positioned as near the top as possible: it enables them to divide, conquer and control the populace better.

Next thing is they'll realize it's too expensive to run the prisons. Then they'll just do away with them altogether.

Then it's their war-war-war and a much more habitable, if lonely, world.
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Squatch Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-12-06 09:11 AM
Response to Original message
30. Can't do the time, don't do the crime.
Sorry, while I don't believe in execution or torture, I think these prisons are too good for the people locked up there.
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mondo joe Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-12-06 09:50 AM
Response to Reply #30
42. Then you DO believe in torture.
You are mistaken to say you don't.
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Squatch Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-12-06 09:51 AM
Response to Reply #42
43. You are mistaken to be putting words in my mouth.
Supermax prisons are the perfect place for these assholes.
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mondo joe Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-12-06 09:53 AM
Response to Reply #43
44. Again, proving you do believe in torture.
Thank you for saying so.
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Squatch Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-12-06 09:59 AM
Response to Reply #44
45. Neener neener boo boo.
All, observe Mondoe's argumentative techniques, perfected on elementary school playgrounds around the country. Just repeat the same clap trap until you have the last word, and you win!
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mondo joe Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-12-06 10:01 AM
Response to Reply #45
46. I think you're channneling Bush's "We do not torture" speech.
That's when you say you don't believe in torture while you advocate its use.

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Squatch Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-12-06 10:06 AM
Response to Reply #46
48. Locking indiscriminate killers away for a long time is not torture.
It's justice. They've had their day in court, they plead their cases, and they were found wanting. They are in these prisons as a result of THEIR actions, and pardon me if I don't shed a tear.
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mondo joe Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-12-06 10:07 AM
Response to Reply #48
49. No one said locking them up is torture. Please put away your straw men.
Locking people up in near constant isolation and deprivation is torture.
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originalpckelly Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-12-06 09:12 AM
Response to Original message
32. As someone whom is interested in prisons, and the justice system...
I know the prison in Florence, CO is one of the best nation wide. Inmates in that prison suffer far less rates of violence than at any other prison in the nation, because of the permanent solitary confinement and the fact that it is totally Supermax.

Personally, I'd want to be housed in a solitary confinement regime, because every other prison where the population is allowed to socialize, has an element of extreme violence to one's body.

Maybe they should be given more to do, I could see that, but I think there is a well thought out logic to these prisons, especially ADX Florence, because it was recently designed and built.
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Homer Wells Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-12-06 02:26 PM
Response to Reply #32
143. You might recall Dr Darnay in A Tale of Two Cities
He spent many years in a French prison, in solitary confinement. This is a fictional tale, I know, but it was considered a good reflection of the system of the times, and his captors DID give him cobblers tools, which at least did give him some purpose, at least in his own mind.
Even so, it took quite some time for him to recover from his mental torture of totally enforced isolation.
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Jack_DeLeon Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-12-06 09:22 AM
Response to Original message
36. I think they are a waste of money...
Edited on Tue Dec-12-06 09:23 AM by Jack_DeLeon
the kind of people who are sent to supermax prisons for life are the kind of people we should be excuting and forgetting about.

The kind of resources wasted on those kinds of people is sickening, all that could be better used to help people who are deserving of help. Those kinds of prisons only help the companies that run them.
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The Stranger Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-12-06 09:39 AM
Response to Original message
38. Well then just imagine what the CONCENTRATION CAMP at Guantanmo Bay is like.
And the Neocon-Christofascist cabal is preventing even the COURTS from being able to find out what hellish torture is taking place there.

Or is that different because those people aren't White non-terrorists, they are non-White, South Asian, Arab and Muslim "Terrorists"?
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cali Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-12-06 10:03 AM
Response to Reply #38
47. So because I didn't address
Guantanamo in a post expressly about supermax prisons, I'm a racist? That's just idiotic, and as a matter of fact, I did condemn torture by the US in any venue, in a subsequent post.

As for your ignorance about who is imprisioned in Supermaxes, get a clue, it's hardly only white people.
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Jed Dilligan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-12-06 10:30 AM
Response to Original message
52. I think that for the privilege of being a cop, prosecutor, or judge,
you should have to spend 30 days in a Supermax. Or maybe gen pop. I'm not sure which, but the system ought to be in the hands of people with a view from the inside.
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cali Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-12-06 10:33 AM
Response to Reply #52
54. Even a week
for prosecutors and judges (as well as prison guards) would give them some perspective of what those conditions do to human beings.
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Kelvin Mace Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-12-06 10:31 AM
Response to Original message
53. You are correct
And I thank you for poking me and reminded me of my humanity.
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cali Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-12-06 10:34 AM
Response to Reply #53
56. Thank you, Kevin
for your comment. I'm finding the number of people that support these institutions, rather jarring.
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Kelvin Mace Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-12-06 04:07 PM
Response to Reply #56
155. Treating people we hate like human beings
is the hardest thing in the world to do.

I have to keep telling myself that. I went through it with man who killed my mom, and it is still hard years later.
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cali Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-12-06 05:36 PM
Response to Reply #155
163. I can only imagine what great challenge
that must be. Thank you so much for sharing that, and I can't tell you how much I respect you for it.
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Heywood J Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-13-06 12:34 PM
Response to Reply #56
208. Part of the problem
is that you have to understand that people can have many different reasons for supporting or opposing these things. This whole thread is an exercise in people refusing to believe that others can hold a differing belief for valid reasons, and it's really sad to watch the level of discourse here degenerate to what's being seen.

If you want to mock how someone gets to an idea (e.g. some of the breathtaking "you're with us or you're with the pedophiles" bullshit here), that's fine. But to argue that there's no way someone could be reasonable and still support the idea of punishment or of isolation, that's oversimplification much the same.

In the meantime, I can see how you could hold the views you do, that such prisons are a crime, and I think you're perfectly welcome to it.








My ten cents?
Do I want to see something like this built to take society's worst? Yes.
Is solitary confinement deserved for some inmates? Yes.
Would I run it the exact same way it (or the US prison system in general) is run now? No.
Is incarceration supposed to be punishment and to keep these people away from the society they harmed? Yes.
Should we help inmates learn a trade, anger management, obtain a GED, etc? Yes.
Is it okay for guards to abuse inmates? No.
Do I believe in capital punishment? Yes, but only for select categories of offenders.
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treestar Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-12-06 10:34 AM
Response to Original message
55. You're not going to get very far in today's climate with any
sympathy for prisoners.

The enforcement and punishment mode is in full blast in this culture.

Even white men, though at least they still have the right to a fair trial, etc.
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Book Lover Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-12-06 10:35 AM
Response to Original message
57. Thank you for these links
I think that if the people here crowing that prison is too good for Rudolph and others understood the reality of the CJ system, they would be singing a different tune. My experience has only been working on CJ college textbooks. It has led to several substantial conversations with former incarcerees (Club Fed types all the way on down) that really opened my eyes. Justice, rehabilitation - these are all empty words. We punish people in this country, and we do it cruelly. To hear supposedly liberal, thinking DUers crow "Prison's too good!" along with the rest of the CJ system makes me sick.
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kentuck Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-12-06 10:55 AM
Response to Original message
60. I worked in Florence, Colorado a couple of years ago...
I drove by SuperMax almost every day. I recall the guard station right on the side of the road, with a drive of about 200 yards, up a slight hill, to SuperMax - with the high wire fences and no prisoners in sight. There were no prisoners picking up trash on the highways. It was so close to town but few people seemed to be that concerned about it...
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nashville_brook Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-12-06 12:59 PM
Response to Reply #60
109. we frequently had escapes from the CCA prison on the west side of nashville
and funny -- they always seemed to be in need of PUBLIC RELATIONS consultants.
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MonkeyFunk Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-12-06 11:05 AM
Response to Original message
63. Thank you, Cali...
the "I'm tougher than you on crime" contingent is disgusting.

People here have stolen DOGS that were treated better than Supermax inmates, and been applauded for it.
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Jack_DeLeon Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-12-06 11:19 AM
Response to Reply #63
68. Animals can be more deserving of humane treatment...
than some humans.

Atleast when an animal does "wrong" it is after all just an animal doing what an animal does.

Humans supposidly have a more evolved brain, and should know better. Also humans are more dangerous and capable of doing far more harm.

I'd definately rather see dangerous violent criminals locked up or worse. A dangerous wild animal, meh, its capacity for harm is limited compared to a human.
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MonkeyFunk Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-12-06 11:23 AM
Response to Reply #68
71. OK
so you're fine with Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo?

This board is disgustingly full of hypocrites.
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Jack_DeLeon Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-12-06 01:02 PM
Response to Reply #71
112. Some of it yes...
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mondo joe Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-12-06 11:50 AM
Response to Reply #68
87. If humans should know better, then we should indeed know better than
to treat prisoners inhumanely.
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Jack_DeLeon Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-12-06 01:05 PM
Response to Reply #87
113. Why should all prisoners be treated the same?
Some are capable of being rehabilitated, and I'm definately infavor of efforts to do so, but others are not.

Why should repeat violent offenders be treated in the same way?

I have a brain and it tells me that a blanket one size fits all policy isnt the brightest idea when you are dealing with the worst of the worst.
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mondo joe Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-12-06 01:09 PM
Response to Reply #113
115. Did someone say they should all be treated the same? Or are you
just making more shit up?

Is it possible to treat all prisoners humanely without treating them all the same? I think so.
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Taxloss Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-12-06 11:25 AM
Response to Original message
73. Agreed.
And recommended.
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Selatius Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-12-06 11:33 AM
Response to Original message
76. Supermax prisons are politically expedient, but it probably isn't helping to "reform" people
That appears to be the case; however, politics gets in the way of things. Instead of Reason, supermaxes become the convenient avenue of escape for people wanting to look "tough on crime."

From Human Rights Watch:

In almost every state in the nation, exploding prison populations, meager budgets, and punitive political climates have overwhelmed the ability of corrections professionals to operate safe, secure, and humane facilities. They lack the funds to recruit, properly train and retain adequate numbers of staff, and to provide programs and productive activities for the men and women in their custody. Thinly staffed, overcrowded, and impoverished facilities breed tension and violence, particularly where prison management has not placed a high priority on promoting staff-inmate and inmate-inmate relations predicated on mutual respect. Many corrections authorities have turned to prolonged supermax confinement in an effort to increase their control over prisoners. They believe that if they can confine all the most dangerous or disruptive inmates in facilities designed specifically for that purpose, they will be able to increase safety and security in other prisons. Some thoughtful corrections professionals, however, recognize that the proliferation of supermax facilities is unwise. While acknowledging that there will always be a few extremely dangerous or disruptive inmates in a prison population who need to be segregated for extended periods of time, they believe placing thousands of prisoners in prolonged isolation is neither good corrections practice nor necessary. Reducing the size of prisons and providing increased prison services and programs would help address the very problems supermaxes are now supposed to remedy. Unfortunately, few corrections professionals have been willing to publicly voice their objections to supermaxes, urge corrections strategies that would make supermaxes unnecessary, or even suggest more humane alternatives for high-risk inmates to the current supermax model of isolation and deprivation.

A significant impetus for supermax confinement also comes from politicians. Crime and punishment have been central issues in American politics for over two decades, and advocating harsh punitive policies for criminal offenders remains a politically popular position. Elected officials advancing tough-on-crime policies have promoted large supermax prisons for their symbolic message, regardless of actual need. Fearful of being accused of "coddling inmates" or being "soft on crime," few politicians have been willing to publicly challenge supermaxes on human rights grounds.

There has been scant public debate about the penological justification for supermax confinement, its high price in terms of the misery and suffering it inflicts, and the likelihood that it reduces an inmate's ability to make a successful transition to society upon release. The public has either been indifferent or has uncritically accepted the punitive penal views of those who endorse the supermax approach. Judicial scrutiny has been limited by both the courts' tradition of deference to the judgments of prison officials and by jurisprudence that sets an extraordinarily high threshold for finding prison conditions to be unconstitutionally cruel.

In short, neither elected officials, the courts, the public, nor corrections professionals have opposed the proliferation of supermax facilities or insisted on better conditions within them. Prolonged segregation that previously would have been deemed extraordinary and inconsistent with concepts of dignity, humanity, and decency has become a corrections staple.
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Bake Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-12-06 11:45 AM
Response to Original message
81. An alternative
Perhaps if we were not crowding our "regular" prisons with nonviolent offenders who are casualties of the "War on Drugs," there would be room in the standard maximum security prisons for the types who now go to supermax.

Bake
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Jack_DeLeon Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-12-06 01:08 PM
Response to Reply #81
114. I agree...
The war on drugs is bullshit.

I still think that these kinds of prisons are useful for those people who should be serving a litteral life sentance.

I support the death penalty buf if you are going to sentance someone to life then it definately should be in a place where there is no chance for escape and with as little freedom as possible.
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Ron Green Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-12-06 11:59 AM
Response to Original message
89. There's just not enough money to do a good job in corrections.
As pointed out in the report, politicians safely promise "tough on crime" policies, but there's never enough funding to keep disruptors separate while providing programming for the inmates who really want to adopt pro-social behavior. Just determining which inmates are serious about changing is prohibitively expensive, because it requires a large trained staff who are not playing the same head games as the inmates. To the extent a general population is allowed to socialize and associate freely, a free-market system of contraband and rule-breaking will flourish.

A graduated incarceration system of behavioral education and special controls can effect real change, in my opinion, but the cost will be far more than taxpayers are willing to bear.
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ComerPerro Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-12-06 12:43 PM
Response to Reply #89
104. care to expand on that?
I am interested to hear what you have in mind when you say "graduated incarceration system or behavioral education and special controls".

Sincerely
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Ron Green Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-12-06 01:14 PM
Response to Reply #104
119. If we accept that behavior is a result of thinking,
then improvement in thinking is necessary for improvement in behavior. My experience is that criminals have lived for many years with various types of bad thinking before their behavior finally got to the point where the law stepped in and locked them up.

Some examples: "I'm a victim (of a bad childhood, of an unfair system), so I'll focus on that rather than my own part in my troubles."

"I don't have time for boring things. I like excitement and instant results."

"I'm really a nice person; people just don't understand me."

"The laws don't apply to me, because I'm a little better than others."

And so on. Behavioral education consists of a curriculum that examines these problems in thinking (shared by everyone but acted on by criminals to the extent that others are seriously harmed), a delivery system that relies on required participation, and rewards of increasing levels of freedom and privilege as lessons are mastered and appropriate behavior is maintained over time.

The idea is that as long as criminal behavior is justified by the existence of an unfair system or an unjust society, there is no real reason to change. A graduated system of custody levels, if properly managed and integrated with a philosophy of respect and pro-social behavior, can have some real results in reduction of violence within the system and lowering recidivism.

The problem is that it's just too expensive to maintain throughout the entire corrections world.
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ComerPerro Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-12-06 01:15 PM
Response to Reply #119
121. you're right, it would be incredibly expensive. But it sounds like it could work
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Phx_Dem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-12-06 12:05 PM
Response to Original message
90. Here in AZ
there are no supermax prisons. What the ADOC uses are 'special mgmt units" or SMUs. The rational for these units make sense, but the key is whether the guidelines for admission and release are being followed, they use what is called a "token economy" which provides a framework so the inmate can "earn" his way out of the SMU and back into genpop.
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The Backlash Cometh Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-12-06 12:30 PM
Response to Original message
97. Well, if you feel that strongly about it,
why don't you make him your penpal and show him some individual faith-based compassion, instead of wasting our time asking us to show compassion for someone who all are glad is out of commission?
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cali Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-12-06 12:35 PM
Response to Reply #97
98. Cutsy little comment
utterly missing the point of my OP, which was, obviously, not about Rudolph, but about Supermax prisons. Not to mention that YOU wasted your own time. YOU didn't have to read my OP or respond to it. Duh.
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The Backlash Cometh Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-12-06 12:47 PM
Response to Reply #98
106. I didn't want to feel left out of the feeding frenzy.
Besides, I'd rather see corrupt Ceo's, politicians, and other public office abusers go to one of those prisons, rather than a Club Fed.
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NashVegas Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-12-06 06:03 PM
Response to Reply #98
165. As Long As You're Going To Hold Up a Remorseless Jihadist As Your Example
or, as John Lennon put it:

"as long as you're carrying pictures of Chairman Mao ..."

Capiche?
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ComerPerro Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-12-06 12:41 PM
Response to Reply #97
103. I've heard this kind of rational argument before, but where?
Oh yeah, everyone on the right wing, about Guantanamo and Abu Graib.

I mean, yeah, who gives a fuck, right? They're guilty.
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The Backlash Cometh Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-12-06 12:52 PM
Response to Reply #103
107. Oh, and when they suggested we bring back the draft, because that
would actually wake everybody up, what side were you on? Well, I'm turning the table on y'all.

Do you know that we didn't even take Lyme's Disease seriously until a powerful politician's daughter got bit by a tick with the shit?

So, if you really want powerful, strong proponents on your side, put Republicans in those Super Prisons, and I assure you, they'll close down faster.
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ComerPerro Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-12-06 01:14 PM
Response to Reply #107
120. Republicans don't get drafted, and won't be in those prisons
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Hippo_Tron Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-12-06 01:23 PM
Response to Reply #120
124. So true, not because there's any shortage of Republican criminals, though.
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The Backlash Cometh Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-12-06 02:47 PM
Response to Reply #120
144. Well, looks like you've found a worthy cause.
Glad I could help.
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ComerPerro Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-12-06 03:01 PM
Response to Reply #144
146. Im not following your snarky and uninformed comment
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The Backlash Cometh Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-12-06 03:27 PM
Response to Reply #146
151. I'm saying if you target your anger at the "right" people, you may even
manage to accomplish your mission. That's the problem with every item that makes it on the To Do list. The first thing the Dems seem to do is argue amongst themselves, when the problem is not from within. It's not the Liberals or Dems who built the Maxi pads in the first place. If you want to destroy them, then you will have to use them on the people who did support their construction. Once you've got their attention, you'll find that there is no one really resisting you.

What I think you're finding here in DU, is just people who don't want them versus people who don't really care nor think it's a priority. i.e. people who will debate you, but won't really get in your way if you really want them gone.
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ComerPerro Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-12-06 07:05 PM
Response to Reply #151
173. and you know that will never happen, so what you are saying is meaningless
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The Backlash Cometh Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-12-06 08:34 PM
Response to Reply #173
184. Then you've admitted defeat.
Because WE are not the ones in your way.
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ComerPerro Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-12-06 10:20 PM
Response to Reply #184
188. I've admitted defeat nowhere. You just offer bullshit "solutions"
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The Backlash Cometh Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-13-06 12:01 AM
Response to Reply #188
193. My old boss you to say, if you want a problem solved, always bitch up.
Give it some time. What I told you will seep in. You see it as a closed door now, only because you've been programmed to accept a degree of resistance. I wouldn't accept no for an answer, if it was something I really believed in. Because once people figure out that you aren't willing to turn every stone, they'll just tune you out too. But if you think you have found a better way, have had it.
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ComerPerro Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-13-06 01:54 AM
Response to Reply #193
197. so you honestly think, for example, a draft will work
becasue the children of the rich will have to go to war?

Have you been paying attention?
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The Backlash Cometh Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-13-06 08:50 AM
Response to Reply #197
202. I think there won't be a draft because talk of a draft will bring people
like me out of their homes and into the streets and I won't be alone when we march on Mainstreet. In other words, the draft is something of major consequence to too many people. It WILL get a response, because, when I march in the streets with all those other frumpy housewives, should the Congress decide to allow the draft, they know they WILL have to blood sacrifice one or more of their children or things are going to get seriously bad in the US as the casualty rates increase amongst the poor and middle class families.

Now, take your Max prison problem. You put crooked Republicans in prison, and you will eventually pull someone's chain. Do you really care whose?
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OneBlueSky Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-12-06 12:40 PM
Response to Original message
101. this country has a real penchant for punishment but devotes very few resources . . .
to trying to understand and ameliorate the underlying causes of crime . . . the prevailing attitude seems to be that people who commit crimes are just bad people who deserve whatever they get . . . when in fact things like poverty, job losses, health problems, chemical imbalances, and environmental factors are often contributing causes that turn otherwise good people into criminals . . .

the fact that so many Americans are either in prison or on parole should be a huge wake-up call . . . why are so many people committing crimes? . . . and what can we, as a society, do to decrease the incidence of crime? . . .

the sad fact is that most people don't care to even examine these questions . . . they'd rather just lock 'em all up and throw away the key . . . an approach which, in the end, solves nothing . . .
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Joanne98 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-12-06 12:46 PM
Response to Original message
105. My son's in prison. Prisoner's are human too....
I'm not going to bother debating the "sicko" American justice system. I'll just put up a BOOK for you'll to read...

American Methods: Torture and the Logic of Domination
Kristian Williams interviewed by
Gyozo Nehz
October 18, 2006


Kristian Williams. I'm an anarchist living in Portland, Oregon. (If you look at a map of the US, Oregon is all the way at the left and about 2/3 of the way to the top, just north of California.) For the past ten years, I've been involved with local efforts against police brutality, most recently with an organization called Rose City Copwatch. Copwatch teaches people about their legal rights, videotapes the cops when they interact with the public, and tries to influence the debate around public safety in ways that promote non-state responses to community needs. My intellectual work grew directly out of my activism.



I've written two books about state violence. The first, Our Enemies in Blue: Police and Power in America came out in 2004, and the second edition is coming out next year. My second book, American Methods: Torture and the Logic of Domination came out this past spring. American Methods deals with the US government's use of torture, starting with an analysis of the Abu Ghraib scandal.



Q. As you write in the introduction in your book is not ultimately about Abu Ghraib in Baghdad. It is instead about torture in general and about the USA. What was your aim with this book?



A. American people are very confused right now. And I don't mean that in a condescending way, like if you don't agree with me then you're suffering under false consciousness or something. No, I mean that for a very large number of people, if you ask them about what is happening in the country, or with America's role in the world, they tell you that they don't understand it, that they don't know what to think about it. That's true about a lot of things -- the September 11 attack, the whole war in Iraq -- and I think it was particularly true about the Abu Ghraib pictures. Here were these horrible photos, which really vividly showed our soldiers behaving like monsters. And people just couldn't understand it. I wanted to help them understand why torture was occurring at Abu Ghraib, and moreover, I wanted to show them that, for very similar reasons, the same kinds of abuses continue to occur not just overseas, but in our domestic prisons as well. I wanted to provide some context for those ghastly snapshots.





Q. To learn the story of Abu Ghraib what kind of impression was made on American people? What extend is the culture of violation accepted in view of American historical tradition?



A. Nearly everyone was shocked. And not merely shocked, but horrified. There were a few right-wing pundits who tried to justify it, but they were really just an embarrassing fringe. More commonly, the authorities tried to minimize the significance of the events at Abu Ghraib, saying that it was just a few soldiers at that one base, and that it in no way reflected on the war effort, or on the military as a whole. People were pretty willing to believe that, and largely just assumed that anything so terrible had to be some sort of anomaly. Of course, the military's own investigations reached the opposite conclusion, and careful reading shows how the torture at Abu Ghraib, and similar abuses elsewhere, came as a predictable consequence of policy decisions made a couple years earlier. In American Methods, I push the analysis further, and argue that the policy decisions characterizing the War on Terror actually fit pretty neatly in a much longer historical arc of US imperialism. But the sad fact is, the American public as a whole is almost completely unaware of that history.





Q. Has American people connected the story of Abu Ghraib with NSA's phones tap without court supervision and the effect of Patriot Act giving the FBI the power to search American people's home without ever notifying them? Are they willing to notice the overall pattern in terms of repression? Just think about the relationship between violation and statepower...



A. Critics sometime list those items -- torture, wiretaps, secret searches -- together along with a lot of Bush's other misdeeds, but they rarely make any effort to explain to the public the underlying logic that connects them. The reporting around this sort of thing is very fragmented, so that you might have separate articles in the same issue of the same newspaper addressing Bush's torture policy, the NSA wiretap program, and, say, an FBI raid based on secret evidence -- and yet there'd be no attempt at all to connect these stories one to the other. They're presented as though they have as little to do with each other as the stock numbers and the sports section.



That's ironic, really, because it is exceedingly easy to show how they relate. As genuinely stupid as George Bush is, the clique behind him does have something of a philosophy. In their view, power isn't just a means by which they can achieve their agenda, it's the central piece of the agenda -- power of the state over the citizenry, power of the president over the judiciary and the legislature, power of the US over the world. What they're seeking is the Hobbesian ideal of sovereignty, with the ruler being above the law. And they want to extend this power over the entire globe. The War on Terror, in both its international and its domestic aspects, is very much animated by this philosophy.



I'll give you an example: When I was writing the first draft of American Methods, I read assistant attorney general Jay Bybee's famous torture memos. In these documents he puts forward a really astounding argument that, given the President's role as Commander in Chief, and given the context of the War on Terror, there are no legally valid limits to what the president can do to protect the American people. Not the Geneva Conventions, not the federal anti-torture law, not the War Crimes Act. What he advocates is really a straightforward totalitarian principle, with the president as Fuhrer. To give some idea of what this might mean, I pointed out that in this particular memo it justifies torture, but it could also justify warrantless wiretaps, or Watergate-style black bag jobs, or a nationwide system of military checkpoints. I really just came up with those examples out of my head, but by the time I was doing my revisions it had been revealed that arguments very much like Bybee's had been put forward within the administration to justify warrantless wiretapping. And shortly after the book went to press, we got some good evidence that the feds had conducted at least one black-bag job in an effort to cover up the wiretap program. It's one of those situations where you don't really relish being proved right.



Q. What can be the message of Guantanamo prisons for politician of the rest of the world?



A. Guantanamo is a good example of what I'm talking about. The base was located where it is for the explicit purpose of putting it -- and its prisoners -- outside the law. The Bush administration argued that since it wasn't in the US itself, no law applied at the prison. And at the same time the administration was saying that prisoners captured in Afghanistan were "enemy combatants" not Prisoners of War, thus excluding them from the protections of the Geneva Conventions. If we put these two arguments together, the prisoners at Guantanamo had literally no rights. Legally speaking, that was nonsense, of course. But it did send a pretty clear message to the rest of the world: The US intends to exempt itself from international law; it acknowledges no limits to the ways it can treat its opponents.



Q. Ignoring of the Geneva Conventions as well as norms of international law has not a special feature of George W. Bush. Just think about his father President George Herbert Walker Bush, whose invasion agains Panama was a typical example of this attitude. (For Central-European people it has a special importance, because invasion Panama and arresting of general Noriega just happened when Eastern-Europe was set free from the Soviet opression.) But here we could mention President Clinton's Secretary of State, Madeline Albright's famous statement: Multilaterally when possible, but unilaterally, when necessary...



A. Yes, in fact the first president Bush also declared that the Geneva Conventions did not legally pertain to the invasion of Panama, though he left their provisions in place as a matter of policy. And it was Clinton who started the CIA's extraordinary rendition program, in which official enemies are kidnapped and shipped to other countries for torture. The current president Bush has merely intensified a tendency that was already well entrenched. If America ever has its version of the Nuremberg tribunals, we can look forward to seeing these three men in the docket together.



Q. On the day after 9/11 Le Monde declared we are all American now, but sympathy for the United States has changed into suspicion and, for some, into hatred. The prisons at Guantanamo Bay and Abu Ghraib, the treatment of prisoners, secret prisons and flights all added to this feeling. Today people outside of America want to distance themselves from American policy...



A. Plenty of people inside America want to distance themselves from American policy. In fact, plenty of people in the president's own party want to distance themselves from his policies!



A lot of this has to do with Iraq. The politicians seem to have suddenly remembered one of the major lessons of the Vietnam war: The public will sometimes forgive you for starting an unpopular and illegal war -- but never for losing one.



The question is how much it matters. Bush's approval ratings are in the toilet, but the anti-war movement, by and large, is disorganized and ineffectual. Both Republican and Democratic politicians are becoming more vocal in their criticisms of Bush's policies, but it mostly smells of election year posturing. Despite their grousing, the Republicans in Congress keep rubber-stamping Bush's proposals -- and the Democrats are hard pressed to say how they would do things much differently, even if they won control of both houses of Congress. Internationally the situation is pretty similar. The UN and the EU gripe about Guantanamo and the extraordinary rendition program, but as long as their member countries keep cooperating, who cares?



My sense is that the current administration is not overly concerned with public opinion, or even with keeping things smooth with their allies internationally. They've decided that it's better to be feared than loved, and so they don't really worry about criticism. What they worry about is resistance.



Q. What can people do to energize democracy now?



A. That's a very good question. To some degree it's a chicken-and-egg problem, because the way we mobilize people is by delivering real victories, and the way we win is by creating broad-based social movements. The good news is that once the process gets going, a virtuous cycle can set in. But in the mean time it's hard to know where to start.



I can't really speak to conditions in Hungary, but in the US most people feel really powerless to affect any actual change and the Left has become almost resigned to its own irrelevancy. I mean, if you asked most activists what purpose is served by a protest march, I think most would say something like "to voice our opposition against the war (or torture, or whatever)." The connection between "voicing opposition" and actually stopping the war is left vague. Because of this, the anti-war movement has squandered some real opportunities. Millions of people demonstrated before the invasion of Iraq, but there was no real plan for how to respond when the invasion happened anyway (even though everyone pretty much knew it would). So all those people felt defeated and powerless, and a lot of momentum was lost. Three years later, the movement still hasn't fully recovered. A lot of people have been left with the feeling that opposition is just pointless. Our first task has to be showing them that it's not, that change is still possible.



It's been done before. The anti-globalization movement's development in the US is a good recent example. I mean, when Clinton signed the North American Free Trade Agreement, the deal faced only token opposition domestically. But the left continued to press the issue of globalization, working steadily for years on anti-sweatshop campaigns and the like, and building working alliances between unions, environmental organizations, and human rights groups. By 1999, there was a sizeable bit of the population who not only opposed corporate globalization, but who had actively participated in some aspect of the struggle against it. That November, tens of thousands of protestors succeeded in derailing the World Trade Organization meeting in Seattle. It was an unexpected victory, and the anti-globalization movement got a huge the boost -- especially in US. Tons more people got involved, protests got bigger, and direct action tactics suddenly had a legitimacy that would have been unthinkable just a year or so before. Shutting down the WTO meeting was certainly worth doing for its own sake, but the real benefit was that it wildly expanded our sense of the possible.



Q. Alice Walker in her book -- Anything We Love Can Be Saved -- writes that Malcolm X, Martin Luther King Jr,. and Rosa Parks all represent activism at its most contagious, because it is always linked to celebration and joy...



A. Unfortunately, there isn't a lot to celebrate at our present moment. But still, isn't it interesting that that sense of joy remains attached to resistance? I think it's because resistance affirms our humanity, our dignity. It makes us more fully human. But I think that's more an outcome than a cause of struggle. At the outset, I think it's more important to have a sense of hope, that things can be different and that through our actions we can contribute to that change. The joy comes later, from struggle itself as much as from victory.





Kristian Williams was interviewed on his new book by Gyozo Nehz on September 23, 2006. Gyozo Nehz is an activist, a member of ATTAC Hungary. He can be reached at: nevictor@gmail.com

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northamericancitizen Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-12-06 01:26 PM
Response to Reply #105
128. Thank you for sharing...... K & R
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Joanne98 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-12-06 05:06 PM
Response to Reply #128
159. Thankyou too.
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alcibiades_mystery Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-12-06 01:01 PM
Response to Original message
111. I completely agree. They're also useless
The age of the SuperMax is almost over. Give it another 10 years, and they'll be gone.
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Hippo_Tron Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-12-06 01:16 PM
Response to Original message
122. IMO, I think it would make senes for both inmates and guards to have SOME social stimulation
How about instead of being locked away for 23 hours a day they are locked away for 22 and they have an hour for a group therapy session of some sort. If security deems it necessary they could chain the inmates to their seats during this session so that they don't pose a threat. It's still a hell of a lot better than what they have now.

I'd imagine that the inmates would be a lot easier to manage if they were provided with some sort of social contact.
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Ron Green Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-12-06 01:27 PM
Response to Reply #122
130. I agree with you.
The key is to carefully construct the activities and cognitive material so that inmates who want to develop the ability to function productively, whether inside or on the street, can safely make and sustain that decision.
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Lydia Leftcoast Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-12-06 01:39 PM
Response to Reply #122
135. Yes, interesting cross-cultural comparison
Earlier this year, BBC America ran a program called Bad Girls, which takes place in a women's prison in the UK. It has its soap opera aspects, but the feature that caught the attention of the vieweres on the BBCA discussion board was that the inmates, some of whom were lifers, seemed to have a lot of freedom compared to women in U.S. prisons, even though conditions were by no means pleasant and temporary solitary confinement was used for major infractions of the rules.

A British participant said that the inmates were easier to handle if given some small degrees of freedom within their confinement.
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Hippo_Tron Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-12-06 02:18 PM
Response to Reply #135
142. It's the same reason we have TVs in prisons
It's not for the inmates' enjoyment it is because they have been proven to make the inmates easier to handle.
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SlipperySlope Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-12-06 01:24 PM
Response to Original message
126. All prisons are torture
Imprisoning somebody against their will is torture.
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Raskolnik Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-12-06 01:36 PM
Response to Reply #126
134. I wouldn't go that far.
That implies a nearly meaningless definition of "torture".
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Kelly Rupert Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-12-06 01:45 PM
Response to Reply #126
137. I don't think you'll find much precedent for that.
Unless we're just calling unpleasant things "torture."

A traffic fine is torture. Because taking my property against my will is torture.
Waiting in line at the DMV is torture. Forcing people to stand for hours against their will is torture.

Let's not trivialize the word "torture."
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SlipperySlope Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-12-06 03:01 PM
Response to Reply #137
147. Traffic Fine != Torture
Neither a traffic fine nor waiting in line is torture, because you can simply opt-out of both activities.

Don't pay the traffic fine.
Don't stand in line at the DMV.

I wouldn't stoop to call anything that can be so simply avoided "torture".

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Raskolnik Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-12-06 04:41 PM
Response to Reply #147
157. So torture is defined by its inevitability?
Why does imprisonment in general constitute torture?
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SlipperySlope Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-12-06 05:31 PM
Response to Reply #157
162. How do you define torture?
I define torture as the infliction of suffering (either mental or physical) for purposes of intimidation, punishment, to induce a confession, etc. How do you define it?

As long as the victim is free to end the experience at any time, without any conditions or risk of retaliation, then I don't see how it is torture. So yes, I would say that the involuntary component is a key aspect of calling it torture.
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mondo joe Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-12-06 06:12 PM
Response to Reply #162
169. I'd say it's somewhere between your definition and George Bush's.
But I'd suggest you consider The "United Nations Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment"(UNCAT).

Article 1
1. Any act by which severe pain or suffering, whether physical or mental, is intentionally inflicted on a person for such purposes as obtaining from him or a third person information or a confession, punishing him for an act he or a third person has committed or is suspected of having committed, or intimidating or coercing him or a third person, or for any reason based on discrimination of any kind, when such pain or suffering is inflicted by or at the instigation of or with the consent or acquiescence of a public official or other person acting in an official capacity. It does not include pain or suffering arising only from, inherent in or incidental to lawful sanctions.
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SlipperySlope Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-12-06 06:35 PM
Response to Reply #169
171. That definition is fine, except for the last part...
I think that definition is excellent, with a caveat about the last sentence.

I'm going to chop it down for purposes of discussion:

"Any act by which severe .. suffering, whether physical or mental, is intentionally inflicted on a person for such purposes as .. punishing him for an act he .. has committed"

There you have it, not much different from my definition. And the heart of it (to me) is that involuntary captivity inflicts severe mental suffering, and therefore is torture.

Regarding the definition as a whole, what is this bit about: "It does not include pain or suffering arising only from, inherent in or incidental to lawful sanctions." Does this mean that so long as the legislature has passed a law authorizing jumper-cables on the testicles as a lawful sanction, it is no longer torture?
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mondo joe Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-12-06 07:24 PM
Response to Reply #171
176. Well, the "severe" word is significant.
And your question is a good one.
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SlipperySlope Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-12-06 07:38 PM
Response to Reply #176
178. The "severe" word (and thanks)
Thanks for the complement on my question regarding "legal sanctions".

Regarding "severe", I suppose then the power to define torture is captured in the power to define severe.

As I've said, my threshold of severe mental distress would be met by incarceration. On the other hand, Bushco's definition of "severe" kicks in right around the point of permanant organ failure.

Probably no way to ever have agreement on this point.
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mondo joe Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-12-06 07:41 PM
Response to Reply #178
182. Here's how I think of it:
Martin Scorsese said his approach to film making is to spend every dollar necessary, but to not waste a cent.

That's my analogy.

Imprisonment is sometimes necessary. Physical force might sometimes be necessary in the course of imprisonment. Isolation might be as well.

But when you use physical force or isolation or other ways to physically or psychologically hurt a prisoner, you have crossed the line.
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Raskolnik Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-12-06 10:22 PM
Response to Reply #162
189. I think your definition broadens "torture" beyond a useful point.
Prison is meant to be, at least in part, a punishment. I think the state can legitimately punish people for breaking the social contract. I do not think that a humanely run prison, in which prisoners' human rights are respected, constitutes "torture".

Given that you consider imprisonment to be torture, do you think that the state may ever legitimately imprison someone?
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guardian Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-14-06 01:03 PM
Response to Reply #126
214. So are you advocating the abolisment of prisons?
If "all prisons" are torture should we get rid of prisons and let Charles Manson run around free? Or are you advocating torture? Please be clear.
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mopinko Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-12-06 01:27 PM
Response to Original message
129. spend that money on real research into mental health
and addiction. find a reliable way to repair a psyche smashed by experiences that no one should have to survive. end this stupid ass war on drugs. so much in mental health treatment these days is barely a step up form reading chicken entrails.
make love not war.
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piedmont Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-12-06 03:10 PM
Response to Reply #129
148. best post in the thread. nt
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Joanne98 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-12-06 05:24 PM
Response to Reply #129
160. Bravo!
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Freddie Stubbs Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-13-06 03:31 PM
Response to Reply #129
211. So, Eric Rudolph, just needs mental health healp rather than punishment?
:shrug:
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w4rma Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-12-06 01:28 PM
Response to Original message
132. The only thing I'd change is to give them access to books. (nt)
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Ron Green Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-12-06 02:49 PM
Response to Reply #132
145. I'd give them access to books, and take away television.
I think that would work wonders.
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piedmont Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-12-06 03:17 PM
Response to Reply #145
150. I'd allow t.v., but use the V-chip....
to block violent content. Not all television programs are totally worthless.
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Ron Green Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-12-06 03:42 PM
Response to Reply #150
153. Actually, I'd use a closed-circuit setup with complete control over programming.
That way you could run educational and informational shows, and even select and what entertainment would be available to whatever cells were authorized to receive it.
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Joanne98 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-12-06 05:26 PM
Response to Reply #132
161. They don't want them to read....
the prisons do everything they can to keep crime UP not down. Religious books but nothing to enlighten. It's a disgrace.
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G_j Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-12-06 01:41 PM
Response to Original message
136. K&R
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nam78_two Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-12-06 03:13 PM
Response to Original message
149. K&R
Elation over such things never seems very liberal .....

Any eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth is not a liberal any position and does no one particular good.
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Xithras Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-12-06 03:38 PM
Response to Original message
152. Nobody has proposed a viable alternative that I've seen.
Edited on Tue Dec-12-06 03:38 PM by Xithras
I's all well and good to complain about the "torture" of being isolated, but arguing for its end neglects one important issue. How else do you isolate people who would rather slit your throat than look at you? How else do you isolate terrorists who view prison as a recruiting opportunity?

There are people in supermax prisons today because they routinely killed other prisoners even after they were incarcerated. Other than isolation, what should be done with them?
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Ron Green Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-12-06 03:47 PM
Response to Reply #152
154. A carefully constructed series of steps to greater freedom is the only way,
and it's too expensive to sell to voters. The idea of the "supermax" is just one part of an overall plan of special controls, but it's the only part that gets funded. The other part involves comprehensive cognitive education and therapy, and that's the part that holds out the possibility for personal behavioral change in significant numbers.
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Disturbed Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-12-06 06:25 PM
Response to Reply #154
170. Humane treatment of those incarcerated,
I read this thread and the Rudolph one. I am saddened by the harsh attitudes of many who have posted. I would expect this from FreakRethuglik but not here. I guess Humane treatment of those incarcerated is too much for many people. That is sad.
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Ron Green Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-12-06 06:39 PM
Response to Reply #170
172. How do we define "humane?"
Sensory deprivation is seen by some as cruel, by others as a chance to find a truer self. Some inmates want nothing more than to be let loose in the yard of a general population, while for others that would be a death sentence.
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OPERATIONMINDCRIME Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-12-06 05:38 PM
Response to Original message
164. I Agree Cali. It Is Definitely A Quite Severe Punishment That I'm Sure Many Debating You Strongly
have no true indication of.

I spent 2 1/2 months in 23/1 lockdown. Not solitary, as I had 2 other cellmates in our puny ass cell, but still locked in the cage with them 23 1/2 hours a day. Even that, over the course of 2 1/2 months, was one of the most mentally challenging things I've ever had to face. 2 1/2 months felt like a year; easy.

To have gone through it while in solitary confinement would've been exponentially worse. I have a feeling some here just simply can't realistically comprehend what it would've been like. I definitely can come pretty close to assessing it.
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lynne Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-12-06 06:12 PM
Response to Original message
168. Bet his victim would have loved the opportunity to live in a Supermax Prison -
- or just LIVE anywhere, for that matter.

There's too much injustice going on in this world to be to be worried about those who are actually receiving justice.
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mondo joe Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-12-06 07:29 PM
Response to Reply #168
177. Injustice is injustice.
I'm ashamed to see so many DUers take a pro-torture position.
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Jack_DeLeon Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-12-06 09:49 PM
Response to Reply #177
185. Perhaps it is you that has the skewed vision when it comes to justice...
I dont know what your beliefs on death are. I really dont know what my own are its pretty much impossible to find out till it happens.

Perhaps when we die there is an afterlife where all wrongs are righted and such. However if all of life and creation are ultimately some cosmic accident and we simply cease to be when we die and nothing really matters then why should we really care about or show any mercy those who have commited the ulimate crime.
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mondo joe Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-12-06 10:13 PM
Response to Reply #185
187. I don't give a fuck about any afterlife.
There are many reasons for justice - not just mercy, but justice.

Prisoners are wards of the state. The state has no business torturing prisoners.

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Jack_DeLeon Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-12-06 10:30 PM
Response to Reply #187
190. Then you should focus on this one...
Edited on Tue Dec-12-06 10:37 PM by Jack_DeLeon
Why should we treat murderers "humanely."

They have taken someone more deserving than themselves out of this world to never be seen again, why should they be allowed to stay here and continue to make an impact when thier victims can no longer do so.

Why throw so many resources into making sure they are comfrotable when there are plenty of people who have done no wrong that are in need.
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mondo joe Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-13-06 12:12 AM
Response to Reply #190
194. This is the one I'm focused on.
It does US citizens no good to have the state torture anyone - even prisoners.

I don't know where you got "comfortable" - I've said they should be treated humanely. And I maintain it is thhe obligation of the state to ensure the safety of anyone who is its ward.

Injustice is injustice - it fouls the system.
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citizen snips Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-12-06 07:07 PM
Response to Original message
174. people like Eric Rudolph deserves this kind of punishment
Edited on Tue Dec-12-06 07:08 PM by MATTMAN
he is lucky to not be on death row.
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lonestarnot Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-12-06 10:09 PM
Response to Original message
186. Yes they are.
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Supply Side Jesus Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-12-06 11:15 PM
Response to Original message
192. I Disagree.
The first link has inaccuracies and some false generalizations and is dated.

The second link is over 10 years old and isn't updated with present conditions in alot of super-maxes.

Third link is weak, written by someone who has little or no understanding of corrections. The writer decries random strip searches, which is a basic right the facility has, searching anyone and anything any given time.

A very good friend who is a deputy now actually work at the Fed Super-max in Florence, CO.(ADX). While it is true that inmates are locked up by themselves 23 hours a day, they are given one hour for exercise and shower. Once a week they are give a quart of ice cream. There are some really bad boys locked up there. Bombers row, spies, dictators, international terrorists. Not only do we lockup these types ADX for their crimes, but the influence and the potentiality of them getting messages to others outside might be dangerous to society. In case you didn't know, all communication to the outside world is monitored. Saying ALL supermaxes are torture, is folly and foolish.
While ADX is tough, Federal prisons in general are called "Club Fed" for a reason. I know in Colorado the max prison, CSP, inmates are allowed to have tvs in their cells. (of course they have to purchase the tv)

I firmly believe that violent or instigating inmates should be ADX. That being said, states should focus more on rehabilitation and counseling. Hope for a better future could be the greatest incentive to get these guys out and clean.

Not only does the prison have a responsibility to treat inmates humanly, but it also has the super-ceding right to keep their employees safe.
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TroubleMan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-13-06 01:10 AM
Response to Original message
195. I've been in solitary confinement before....once for over two months.
Edited on Wed Dec-13-06 01:10 AM by TroubleMan
I got in a fight while incarcerated (quite a few actually), and that's why they put me on solitary.

I wouldn't call it torture. You do have human and social contact.....with the guards. It's not like they lock you up in a cell with no light, never check on you, and slide a meal through a hole - that would be torture. There's a regulation in place about how much light and space you must have, and you at least get your choice of religious book (i.e. Bible, Torah, Qur'an, and maybe some others). In some places they let you have other books, headphones, and apparently in the supermaxes you can have a TV.

What you do is sit and read all day, either laying in bed or sitting down. I always decided to make myself do exercise for at least two 30 minute sessions per day....push ups, sit ups, jumping jacks, running in place...stuff like that. You get 3 meals a day. It wasn't bad at all, when compared to being in general pop. In fact, I often preferred it, because then you can get away from some assholes that ruin your whole day because they won't stop bothering you. I'm a guy who loves privacy and can't stand living with a bunch of guys all day. If somehow I returned to the errant ways of my youth (highly doubtful), and ended up with a huge sentence, I'd probably pick the solitary confinement over being in general pop....especially if I had my own TV.

Trust me....you are preaching to the choir when you talk to me about prisoner rights. I'm a huge advocate of prisoner rights. However, if done by the law (i.e. the light and space requirements, they have to let you outside a certain amount of time, and they have to let you shower), solitary confinement is not torture. If it's done the wrong way, it very well can be torture. The main thing we need to look at, instead of trying to end solitary, we should make sure the rules are followed or maybe add a few extra privileges to make it more humane.

Also....let's face it, some people are too dangerous to themselves and others to not be on solitary. There's not a lot, but there are some.
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Heywood J Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-13-06 01:02 PM
Response to Reply #195
209. I think your post
deserves more attention than it seems to be getting.
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TroubleMan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-13-06 09:55 PM
Response to Reply #209
213. Thanks.

There's a middle ground in between the two points of view. Solitary is not torture, if the rules are followed. However the US prison system and justice system has major problems, and there are several areas that need improvement.
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Texas Prison Boss Donating Member (30 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-14-06 07:28 PM
Response to Reply #195
216. Gee I wonder why....
"Trust me....you are preaching to the choir when you talk to me about prisoner rights. I'm a huge advocate of prisoner rights."

Gee, I wonder why.... *rolls eyes*
Care to tell us what you did to get locked up in the first place?

Were I locked up (and in a way I am....it's just that I can walk out any time I wish) it would be something shameful in my past that I would never wish to let anyone know about.

Hate to break it to you but in every case (well almost every case...the jsutice department estimates that fewer than one half of one percent of all inmates are wrongly imprisoned and even in those cases the guy is lilley a career criminal who got popped for a crime he happened not to commit) prison is a self inflicted condition. This is the same no matter who you are or what race or social class one is.
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madmusic Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-15-06 02:30 AM
Response to Reply #216
218. Just from this one post it's pretty obvious...
Edited on Fri Dec-15-06 02:31 AM by madmusic
The convicts probably treat you the same why you treat them, with disrespect.

edit typo
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Texas Prison Boss Donating Member (30 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-15-06 07:19 AM
Response to Reply #218
221. You know that famous line about what happens when you assume?
You prove it right with your post as you know nothing about me.
*rolls eyes*

Actually I employ the management style of "firm, fair, and consistant". I tend to treat people as is situationally apropriate and in general as they treat me.

But you are right on one count: I have no respect for criminals. You have to be respectable before you can get respect. However I am cordial and polite unless their behavior dictates otherwise
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madmusic Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-15-06 07:15 PM
Response to Reply #221
225. I didn't assume anything.
It's right there in black and white. You tried to shame TroubleMan. That was a low blow and uncalled for. You may be able to "walk out" but he isn't there at all, and I hope he keeps it that way.

Good luck, TroubleMan.
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fujiyama Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-13-06 02:56 AM
Response to Original message
198. Solitary confinement is torture?
Edited on Wed Dec-13-06 03:00 AM by fujiyama
Eric Rudolph is a fuckin murderer. He kills people, then complains about the conditions of prison? Fuck him.

These are hardened criminals, incarcerated for crimes like murder. Solitary confinement sounds like a fair alternative to the death penalty. They are lucky not to be on death row.

Anyone that claims murderers, child predators, pedophiles and similarly fucked up criminals can be rehabilitated (atleast enough to be released back into society) is stupid...



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RestoreGore Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-13-06 12:09 PM
Response to Original message
206.  We Torture in American Prisons
Edited on Wed Dec-13-06 12:17 PM by RestoreGore
http://www.commondreams.org/headlines06/0712-08.htm

We are no better than a third world country in the tactics used either. And it is WRONG no matter WHO it is or WHERE it takes place. PERIOD.


From the article linked:

The human rights violations, as pointed out in the report, also refer
to the use of electric stun belts, grenades, and guns; tethers; waist
and leg chains; air tasers; and restraint hoods, belts, and beds.

Prisoners, according to the report's findings, can be held in long-term
solitary confinement and extreme isolation in severely confined spaces
with little or no daily contact for days, weeks, months, or even years.
Sexual assault of female prisoners is common.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Prisoners may very well deserve their sentences, and even in some cases there are those who do not which is an entire other outrage...However, we as a people have a MORAL obligation to uphold a higher principle regarding incarceration of prisoners in our prisons. What does it say to what we are as a people when we actually take PLEASURE in seeing this happening? I am appalled, outraged, and disappointed. Our prisons on the whole are no better than Abu Ghraib.
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Heywood J Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-13-06 01:05 PM
Response to Original message
210. About three quarters of this thread
should be ashamed of themselves. Not for what positions they hold or what side they're on, but for how they've gone about "debating" each other. It's like watching squabbling children.
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noonwitch Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-13-06 03:36 PM
Response to Original message
212. Not every inmate gets supermax, they have to earn that status
In Rudolph's case it's a security issue-the prison officials are afraid of those who helped him and hid him out taking action. Same with Terry Nichols.

In Michigan, for an inmate to get transferred to I-max, he has to have assualted or killed a guard or another inmate. They are sent there because they've already blown it at a regular maximum security facility. I don't have a problem with it.
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Texas Prison Boss Donating Member (30 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-14-06 07:22 PM
Response to Original message
215. I speak from experience...
*ulurking to reply*
Wow.
Were to start?

Ok, first a little background since no one here knows me. I've been a Texas Correctional Officer
for 15 years now and have worked who whole spectrum from low security "State Jail" facilities
to my state's version of "supermax". For a little over eight years I worked in a large "Administrative Segregation" department. This is a high security lock-down area that houses the most disruptive and violent offenders....and I have the scars to show for it. (I've been assaulted numerous times, have worn human urine and feces on occasion, and in 1993 I was stabbed) Take it from me, my state's prisons are far from being "torture". Granted prior to the mid '80s Texas prisons were a pretty harsh place to do time. However in the years since the pendulum has swung back the other way to the point that the punishment aspect of prison is all but gone. Now brazen inmates with little to fear act out in an agressive manner toward staff in ever
increasing numbers. For the last four years in a row for example, assaults on staff have actually outnumbered inmate on inmate fights.

Texas inmates, while not exactly living in luxury, don't have it half bad. Certainly the conditions fall FAR short of the rediculous charge of "torture".

Are other prisons the same? I'm not 100% sure and can only speak with certainly regarding my state's system, but, my professional curiosity has led me to educate myself on other prisons and have extensively corresponded with officers in other states. Thus I think I have a pretty good idea that the conditions in other states and in the Federal system are quite similar.

Of course I don't expect people like the original poster and those who agree with him to believe me. After all I'm an "evil agent of opression". (don't laugh..I actually got called
that one time) However I can garentee that those who make such silly comments have probably never been within miles of a real prison, let alone actual been inside one or dealt with real criminals on a daily basis. Most likely, they get most of their information upon which their opinions have been formed from exagerated TV and movie accounts (there is a reason I hate shows like "OZ"),
scary doccumentaries, and criminal rights web sites like the ones linked to above that have a vested interest in painting a horrificpicture. Once again, take it from someone who has been there...it simply aint so.

The fact is (and anyone who actually works with real world criminals will agree here) that the admitedly restrictive and unpleasant conditions of high security lock downs are really the only way to deal with the most violent and disruptive of the criminal element. People don't simplly
get placed in these things for no reason after all. In the end, they are an effective tool (probably one of the most effective) to keep staff, the public, and yes even other criminals
safe from these kinds of "people".

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madmusic Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-15-06 02:34 AM
Response to Reply #215
219. Surprise, surprise...
Treat people like animals, then don't be surprised when they act like animals.
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Jack_DeLeon Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-15-06 03:42 AM
Response to Reply #219
220. I know...
When criminals act like animals people should not be surprised that they are put in cages.

I'm glad I live in Texas atleast here I have the right to defend myself from wild animals of the 2 or 4 legged variety.
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Texas Prison Boss Donating Member (30 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-15-06 07:21 AM
Response to Reply #219
222. Suprise suprise indeed...
Nice meaningless talking point.

Did you actually READ my post above or is that just a knee-jerk anti-authority figure reply?

And pray tell. Let us in on your practical real world experience with the prison enviorment. We are waiting....
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madmusic Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-15-06 06:45 PM
Response to Reply #222
224. The harsher the conditions, the higher the recidivism...
Edited on Fri Dec-15-06 07:04 PM by madmusic
Read 'em and weep.

Does Prison Harden Inmates?

Common sense, really. If someone is never going to get out, that may not matter, but if they are, it does. We can't lock 'em all up for life, so as the thread suggests, a better solution is more humane treatment for public safety.

edit typo
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cali Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-15-06 08:20 AM
Response to Reply #215
223. First of all, I would never
call you an idiotic name like "evil instrument of torture". I know some pretty damn good people who work for the prison system where I live- not only prison guards but folks in administration and those who provide health care. Yes, I've run into some real assholes too. You assume far too much when you assume I've never been in a prison. I spent 3 years advocating for prisoners rights and have been in virtually every prison in my state. I've investigated suicides in prisons and mistreatment- as well as non-treatment.

I have no idea about the institution you work in. I can't comment. And if you think the HRW has a vested interest in painting a horrific picture, you don't have a clue.
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NaturalHigh Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-15-06 01:07 AM
Response to Original message
217. Child rapists, murderers, etc...
I don't care about them so long as they're locked up away from decent people and can never harm anyone again.
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