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Response to JustABozoOnThisBus (Reply #10)

Fri May 15, 2015, 09:21 PM

13. 23 hours a day of solitary confinement for life.

A major problem with these things is what you might call "penalty creep." All prison systems are overcrowded, so you're gonna make sure those Supermax slots are filled by SOMEBODY, whether or not they are the "worst of the worst" in the system.

When the Supermax was first proposed for WI by Toxic Tommy Thompson, the DOC didn't even want it; the max security joints were just fine for housing even the worst of the criminal population, and they didn't want the potential liabilities that could arise from "unconventional" punishment.

Here is a passage from something written by an inmate at Wisconsin's Boscobel Supermax about a year ago:

The German philosopher Nietzsche [said], “That which does not kill us makes us stronger,” which may or may not be valid. From my own experiences and observations from being in solitary confinement over the years…I have witnessed men having mental and emotional breakdowns so intense that they need to be prescribed anti-psychotic medications and clinical therapy.
I’ve seen prisoners who were unable to endure such long terms of confinement in solitary attempt to commit suicide, smear their fecal matter over their bodies, cells, and even eat their body waste. I’ve witnessed them cut themselves, and some who – lacking any sharp object to cut themselves with, use their teeth to rip their flesh so as to expose their veins and rip those out to spray their blood all over their cell doors, windows, floors, etc.

I’ve seen yet others simply cry like unfed, hungry babies all day and all night, and some lash out yelling and screaming all day, all night, banging on walls and cell doors, trying to get some form of acknowledgement from their jailers that they are human beings, only to be sprayed with various forms of chemical agents, left incapacitated in their cells. Only then to be taken and have their cloths cut from their bodies and put nude into a yet more restrictive type of segregation status, called “control status.” There, they have nothing in their cell but a concrete slab to sleep on, a stainless steel sink and toilet combo, a surveillance camera and 24 hours a day of bright light cell illumination.

Removal from this status is determined by “a white shirt” [supervisor]. No standards or process is due or available. We only have a potentially mentally and emotionally disturbed prisoner at the mercy of a sadistic and possibly masochistic white shirt, who knows no limits and has no psychiatric training.

While the prisoners mentally and emotionally regress, [a prisoner with mental illness] is often cheered on and encouraged by bored corrections officers to regress even lower. I’ve witnessed officers…encourage a mentally ill prisoner who had smeared feces all over his control cell window, to lick it off, and they would give him some milk. And this prisoner licked most of the fecal matter off of the window, and was “awarded” by the officer who threw an old milk to the prisoner through a lower trap door to the cell.


http://solitarywatch.com/2014/05/19/voices-from-solitary-analyzing-isolation-part-iii/

Edited to add--
Some years ago, when I was a regional chief psychologist in the WI Correctional system, I recommended an ex-intern for a Corrections job. He ended up at Boscobel. He had to quit because he just couldn't live with what was being done to people there. He said he almost felt like he was being intensely pressured to act like one of those Guantanamo psychologists who not only participated in the torture, but helped to invent & refine it.

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