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Author Topic: Crime and Punishment  (Read 33963 times)
Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #100 on: May 11, 2015, 08:23:32 AM »

http://www.salon.com/2015/05/10/prisons_are_a_cash_cow_how_privatization_forged_an_incarceration_industrial_complex_partner/?utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=socialflow

I've a couple of friends/ideological opposites on FB who have been chewing my ear about the evils of privatization of prisons e.g. http://www.salon.com/2015/05/10/prisons_are_a_cash_cow_how_privatization_forged_an_incarceration_industrial_complex_partner/?utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=socialflow

Your thoughts on this?
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G M
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« Reply #101 on: May 11, 2015, 09:06:39 AM »

Once a correctional facility is built, the biggest cost is staffing. The only way private facilities are profitable is by low wages and benefits for staff. Low wages and benefits, no job protection for staff means constant turnover. That means that the facility is dangerous and STGs form.

There are no power vacuums in human affairs. If staff doesn't run the facility, then the inmates do. Eventually, the end result is the riots and millions in damage to the facility.

All paid for by the taxpayers.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #102 on: May 11, 2015, 02:05:00 PM »

But didn't we see the Black Guerilla Family running the Baltimore jail, even though it was city owned and run, due to low wages and high turnover?
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G M
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« Reply #103 on: May 11, 2015, 02:24:04 PM »

But didn't we see the Black Guerilla Family running the Baltimore jail, even though it was city owned and run, due to low wages and high turnover?


A well run facility isn't a given when it is directly run by a governmental entity, but it has a better chance. I have never seen a private facility that wasn't a problem. Some being worse than others.
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DougMacG
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« Reply #104 on: May 12, 2015, 10:05:49 AM »

In a world where there are cameras everywhere and in a part of this world, prisons, where people already have limited rights of liberty and privacy, how does an inmate knock up four young, female prison guards?  Doing it on your own time ought to involve waiting until he gets out.  Yes, the pay scale should be high enough that most wouldn't want to lose their job.

I would optimistically think that the publicizing of this story would cause reforms.  It is quite a large financial setback for a private firm to lose a contract like this.

I wonder if the problem is not the private management but the government sector rules placed on them that enables this.  My initial thought is to make cells smaller, bars thicker and punishments harsher until problems like this go away.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #105 on: May 12, 2015, 11:14:25 AM »

Doug:  Are you thinking that the BGF in the Baltimore jail was privately run?
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G M
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« Reply #106 on: May 12, 2015, 12:06:15 PM »

Jails are as mentioned in the article, very difficult to run, and unless an inmate is serving a short term sentence, they are not convicted of a crime. That limits the degree of control you have over those in custody.

A good Intel and internal affairs unit is crucial.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #107 on: May 14, 2015, 11:24:54 AM »

A quintessential Pravda on the Hudson article-- but the larger point I think is sound.  Rape does not belong as part of punishment and our tolerance of it makes for far more brutal felons when they get out.
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G M
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« Reply #108 on: May 14, 2015, 12:13:49 PM »

A quintessential Pravda on the Hudson article-- but the larger point I think is sound.  Rape does not belong as part of punishment and our tolerance of it makes for far more brutal felons when they get out.


Donde esta ?
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #109 on: May 14, 2015, 03:50:33 PM »

Oops!  Brain fart!  embarassed

Push to End Prison Rapes Loses Earlier Momentum
By DEBORAH SONTAGMAY 12, 2015
Photo

Passion Star, a transgender inmate at the Barry B. Telford prison complex in New Boston, Tex. The scars are the result of a slashing by a gang member that required 36 stitches. Credit Ruth Fremson/The New York Times

NEW BOSTON, Tex. — The inmate, dressed in prison whites with a shaved head and incongruously tender eyes behind wire-rimmed glasses, entered the visiting room with her wrists joined as if she were handcuffed. At 31, she had spent her whole adult life behind bars, and it looked like a posture of habit.

She introduced herself: “My given name at birth was Joshua Zollicoffer, but my preferred name is Passion Star.”

A transgender woman whose gender identity has been challenged by the Texas authorities, Ms. Star herself is challenging Texas’ refusal to accept new national standards intended to eliminate rape in prison, which disproportionately affects gay and transgender prisoners. Last spring, Gov. Rick Perry declared in a letter to Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. that Texas had its own “safe prisons program” and did not need the “unnecessarily cumbersome and costly” intrusion of another federal mandate.

Ms. Star, who says she is a victim of repeated sexual harassment, coercion, abuse and assault in Texas’ maximum-security prisons for men, disagrees.
Photo
 
Ms. Star accepted a plea deal of 20 years on a charge of aggravated kidnapping, the same deal as her former boyfriend and co-defendant. He was released two years ago. Credit Ruth Fremson/The New York Times

“Look, I got 36 stitches and have scars on my face that prove the prisons are not safe and the current system does not work,” she said. “Somebody needs to be intrusive into this state’s business. Because if somebody was intruding, probably these things would not happen.”

After decades of societal indifference to prison rape, Congress, in a rare show of support for inmates’ rights, unanimously passed the Prison Rape Elimination Act in 2003, and Mr. Perry’s predecessor as governor, President George W. Bush, signed it into law.

“The emerging consensus was that ‘Don’t drop the soap’ jokes were no longer funny, and that rape is not a penalty we assign in sentencing,” said Jael Humphrey, a lawyer with Lambda Legal, a national group that represents Ms. Star in a federal lawsuit alleging that Texas officials failed to protect her from sexual victimization despite her persistent, well-documented pleas for help.

But over 12 years, even as reported sexual victimization in prisons remained high, the urgency behind that consensus dissipated. It took almost a decade for the Justice Department to issue the final standards on how to prevent, detect and respond to sexual abuse in custody. And it took a couple of years more before governors were required to report to Washington, which revealed that only New Jersey and New Hampshire were ready to certify full compliance.

With May 15 being the second annual reporting deadline, advocates for inmates and half of the members of the National Prison Rape Elimination Commission, a bipartisan group charged with drafting the standards, say the plodding pace of change has disheartened them despite pockets of progress.

“I am encouraged by what several states have done, discouraged by most and dismayed by states like Texas,” said Judge Reggie B. Walton of United States District Court for the District of Columbia, who was appointed chairman of the now-disbanded commission by Mr. Bush.
 
Some commissioners fault the Justice Department for failing to promote the standards vigorously. Others blame the correctional industry and unions for resisting practices long known to curb “state-sanctioned abuse,” as one put it. All lament that Congress has sought to weaken the modest penalties for noncompliance, and that five governors joined Mr. Perry last year in snubbing the standards.

“There’s a whole kind of backlash, which is very depressing,” said Jamie Fellner, a former commissioner who is senior counsel for the United States program of Human Rights Watch. “It’s 12 years since the law passed. I mean, really. We’re still dealing with all these officials saying, ‘Trust us. We’ll take care of it’?”

Last year, 42 governors signed a form providing “assurance” to the Justice Department that they were advancing toward compliance. But they were allowed to make that assurance without having conducted any outside audits; the commissioners protested this in a letter to Mr. Holder in November, expressing concern about “efforts to delay or weaken” adherence to the standards.

In fact, the ambitious goal to audit every prison, jail, detention center, lockup and halfway house in this country over a three-year period is far behind schedule.
Some 8,000 institutions are supposed to be audited for sexual safety by August 2016, but only 335 audits had been completed by March, according to a Justice Department document obtained from the office of Senator John Cornyn of Texas; the department declined to provide numbers.

The Justice Department said it “remains steadfast in its commitment to the implementation of the National PREA Standards” — PREA is the acronym for the Prison Rape Elimination Act — and hopes for “full participation” from all states this year.

But states face only a small penalty, the loss of 5 percent of prison-related federal grants, if they opt out of the process entirely. “There are a lot of carrots in PREA, and not enough sticks,” said Brenda V. Smith, an American University law professor and another former commissioner.

Texas forfeited $810,796 — a minuscule fraction of its multibillion-dollar corrections budget — after Mr. Perry declined to sign an assurance letter. According to a spokesman for the Texas Department of Criminal Justice, this loss “will not have any effect on T.D.C.J. operations.”

The other renegade states, as advocates called them, were Arizona, Florida, Idaho, Indiana and Utah.

Texas’ opting out was considered especially significant, however, because it has the largest prison population in the country and by far the most reports of sexual assault and abuse. Texas had three and a half times as many allegations as California in 2011, when California still had more inmates than Texas, according to the federal data.
The Texas authorities attribute this to “extensive efforts to encourage and facilitate reporting.” Declining to discuss Ms. Star’s case, they said their “goal is to be as compliant as possible with PREA standards without jeopardizing the safety and security of our institutions.”

Twenty-seven of their 109 prisons have passed outside audits, they said, including the one where Ms. Star is now locked up for a teenage offense that the authorities considered kidnapping.

A Predatory Culture

In this rural area just west of Texarkana, the Barry B. Telford prison complex sits behind chain-link fences topped with coils of razor ribbon. It is where Ms. Star began her incarceration the year that Congress passed the prison rape law and where, after an odyssey through six other prisons, she unexpectedly returned at the end of March.
She is used to moving around. Born in Mississippi in late 1983, Ms. Star lived the peripatetic life of a military child, shuttling from state to state and twice to Germany before settling near Fort Hood, Tex., as a teenager.

On a summer day when she was 18, she accompanied her boyfriend, who was 23, to a Chevrolet dealership to test-drive a car. Her boyfriend took the wheel of a maroon Impala, a salesman got in the front passenger seat and Ms. Star sat in the rear.

When the salesman indicated it was time to return to the lot, the boyfriend said no, in Ms. Star’s recounting.

“I’m like, ‘Wow. What do you mean?’” she said. “And he’s like, ‘Be quiet.’ It was one of those things where keeping it real goes wrong. Where I could have been like, ‘Well, you need to stop,’ or gotten out, and I didn’t. We make bad decisions when we’re young.”

(Note: Some inmates reported experiencing victimization by both another inmate and facility staff. Mental health statuses were determined by screenings as a part of the survey.)

*Rates for transgender inmates are combined estimates from three surveys since 2007 and have a 95 percent confidence level at +/- 6.3 percentage points and +/- 6.5 percentage points.
Source: Bureau of Justice Statistics, National Inmate Survey, 2011–12

After 40 miles, they deposited the salesman on a rural road. He eventually flagged down a police car, and an alert was issued for the stolen Chevy. The couple kept driving north, even picking up a hitchhiker at one point, until, with the authorities in pursuit, their flight ended in a ditch.

Charged with aggravated kidnapping, a first-degree felony that carries a penalty of five to 99 years, Ms. Star accepted the same plea deal of 20 years as her boyfriend.
“The law applies a rule of parties, which allows them to charge the passenger with the same level of culpability as the primary actor,” said M. Bryon Barnhill, who was Ms. Star’s court-appointed lawyer. But, he added, the boyfriend (and the hitchhiker) told the authorities “they were acting in concert with the intention of stealing the car and traveling to Canada to start a new life.”

Ms. Star was 19 when she arrived at Telford, with no possibility of parole for a decade. She was quickly inducted into a gang-ruled world with an ultimatum, she said: “You’re going to ride with us, or you’re going to fight.”

“In the state of Texas, in the general population, there is a culture where gay men and transgender women in prison are basically preyed on by the stronger inmates,” she said. “They have to be the property of a person who’s in a gang, and this person is the individual who speaks for them. So basically, they’re coerced into being sexually active to survive.”

Ms. Star said that after complaining fruitlessly to prison employees, she submitted to a coerced sexual relationship. She tried to leave the inmate once, she said, but he choked her in response.

The most recent national inmate survey by the Justice Department found that sexual victimization was reported by 3.1 percent of heterosexual prisoners, 14 percent of gay, lesbian and bisexual prisoners and 40 percent of transgender inmates.

Because gay and transgender inmates are at such high risk, a prison’s efforts to protect them are seen by experts as a barometer of its commitment to eliminating rape. That is why Ms. Star’s advocates believe her case represents a pervasive problem in Texas; those defendants who filed a legal response to her complaint deny all allegations against them and contend they acted “in good faith.”

In her early years in prison, Ms. Star considered herself gay. She knew she was “additionally different,” but it would take a few more years for her to identify as a transgender woman, to adopt a “feminine alias” and to start feeling comfortable in her own skin.

“You know how penguins are?” she asked. “On land, if you look at a penguin when it walks around, it’s just an ungainly, clumsy creature. But in water, a penguin is one of the most graceful animals in the world.” She added, “I didn’t feel like I was in my element until, at all types of personal risk to myself, I became Passion.”

Becoming Passion in a maximum-security men’s prison in Texas was not easy. “Basically, they frown on us expressing our gender,” she said. “I did at one point wear my hair longer, arch my eyebrows, shave my legs and my body and everything. I wore small, form-fitting clothes and made myself feminine underwear. But I was actually disciplined for it.”

It was only in 2014 that she learned from a notice in the prison newspaper that inmates were allowed to request classification as transgender, she said, and she did so.
But in their response to her lawsuit, Texas officials refer to Ms. Star as Mr. Zollicoffer, use male pronouns and “deny” she is transgender, “as no such medical diagnosis has been made.”

“If she were seeking medical care — and she does intend to transition, but until now she has been in survival mode — a diagnosis could be relevant,” Ms. Humphrey, her lawyer, said. “But whether or not she was diagnosed as transgender has nothing to do with whether or not she deserves protection from sexual assault.”
‘The Day-to-Day Horror’

As a researcher who studied prison rape when nobody wanted to know about it, Cindy Struckman-Johnson, a social psychologist at the University of South Dakota, was astonished when Congress passed the rape legislation.

“To me, it was like a miracle,” said Ms. Struckman-Johnson, a former commissioner who described how she had become “persona non grata” in Nebraska in the 1990s after finding a high rate of prison rape there. “Ever since PREA, nobody can really be in denial.”

The law described prison rape as epidemic. Ideologically evenhanded, it referred at once to “the day-to-day horror of victimized inmates” and to “brutalized inmates more likely to commit crimes when they are released.” It spoke of the potential spread of H.I.V. and of the need for Congress to protect the constitutional rights of prisoners in states where officials displayed deliberate indifference.

The law, which established the commission, laid out a timetable under which the attorney general would publish the final antirape standards by 2007.
But after eight public hearings, 11 site visits and two public comment periods on draft standards, the commission did not release its final report and proposed standards until 2009.

“What took so long?” Ms. Smith, the American University law professor, asked. “Resistance was coming from and still is coming from many correctional agencies. The resistance was: This is going to cost us too much money. But also, we were developing standards not just around preventing rape, but around respect and dignity and changing the culture that permitted or even encouraged rape in custody.”

It then took the Justice Department three additional years to issue final standards that were in the end “almost identical — very frustrating,” one commissioner said.
The 52 standards for prisons and jails apply to everything from hiring and staffing levels to investigation and evidence collection to medical treatment and rape crisis counseling.

State officials found some standards particularly intrusive. Mr. Perry protested that limitations on cross-gender strip searches, pat downs and bathroom supervision would force Texas to discriminate against its female officers. He said the requirement that youths in adult prisons be “separated by sight and sound” from grown-up inmates infringed on Texas’ right to set its age of

Telford Prison is where Ms. Star began her incarceration and where, after an odyssey through six other prisons, she returned at the end of March. Credit Ruth Fremson/The New York Times

Training and technical assistance related to the coming regulations began in 2004. Since 2011, the Justice Department has doled out some $31 million in PREA-related grants, and tens of millions more to set up and run the National PREA Resource Center.

And indeed, judged through a long lens, considerable progress has been made. That wardens across the country now profess zero tolerance for sexual abuse represents a cultural transformation itself. There are antirape posters on prison bulletin boards, hotlines to report sexual abuse, educational videos for inmates, and training sessions for guards. Statistics show some prisons and jails with very low or even no reported sexual abuse.

“I’m not on the top deck, I’m in the engine room with Scotty, and I see behavioral change on the yards and in the cellblocks,” said James E. Aiken, a correctional consultant and former commissioner. “This is not a speedboat; it’s a very big ship.”

John Kaneb, a business executive and former vice chairman of the commission, said he also thought “things are going well now.”

Over 500 specialized auditors have been certified, and, he said, the pace of audits is accelerating: “They’re not going to get 8,000 done in the next 15 months, but I wouldn’t be surprised if they had 1,000 done by end of year.”

Yet others are disappointed that the states are moving slowly and that the Justice Department declines to say how much longer it will allow governors to provide “assurances” instead of certifying compliance.

“This leaves open the absurd possibility that a state could kick the can down the road in perpetuity without ever incurring a financial penalty,” said Lovisa Stannow, the executive director of Just Detention International.

Pat Nolan, director of the Center for Criminal Justice Reform at the American Conservative Union Foundation and a former commissioner, said that Mr. Perry’s public challenge to the standards caused ripples of anxiety that linger.

“The fear is that if you get enough states thumbing their nose at this, the whole thing could unravel,” he said.

In the end, the former commissioners said, oversight might have to become the provenance of the courts.

“I think that’s the greatest hope, that the standards become the legal standards of care,” Judge Walton said. “If states realize they’re going to have multimillion-dollar lawsuits, that will be an incentive for them.”

A Quest for ‘Safekeeping’

At Lambda Legal’s offices on Wall Street, not long after Mr. Perry’s declaration to Washington, Ms. Humphrey started combing through letters from inmates complaining about sexual abuse.

“I was looking in our mailbag for a plaintiff who could illustrate the problems Texas was having,” Ms. Humphrey said. “And there she was.”

What Ms. Humphrey found was a thick envelope from Ms. Star containing the proposed draft of a legal complaint along with medical files, grievance reports and appeals — a meticulous record of her years behind bars.

In 2006, Ms. Star was transferred to the James V. Allred Unit in Wichita Falls.

Sexual slavery is basically what goes on in most prison in the United States - the participation by employees makes it even more hideous. No...

Allred would soon be singled out by the Justice Department as one of the 10 most sexually violent prisons in the country. Five of the 10, in fact, were in Texas, and Ms. Star would end up doing time in three of them.

At Allred, she was immediately targeted because she had been at Telford, she said, but she was older and unwilling “to lay down and accept these things happening to me.”

So she embarked on what became her unrelenting quest to be placed in “safekeeping,” which is what Texas calls separate housing units for vulnerable inmates. She sought safekeeping not only because of recurrent sexual harassment, coercion and threats of violence, but also because of retaliation for reporting these incidents — from staff members as well as inmates, she said.

At Allred, when she told a prison official she feared for her life after refusing sexual demands, the official told her she would be fine because she is black, she claims in her lawsuit. Over the years, she came to believe the system’s protection program was racially discriminatory.

A racial breakdown of the inmates in safekeeping, provided by Texas, indicates she may have had a point. Of the 1,569 inmates with that status now, 57 percent are white, while whites constitute 30 percent of the inmate population. Twenty-three percent in safekeeping are black, compared with 35 percent over all, and 19 percent are Hispanic, compared with 33 percent.

In March 2007, Ms. Star was assigned to a cell with a gang member who instantly started demanding sexual favors. She informed a guard and asked for help, she said. Two days later, the cellmate raped her at knife point. After she reported the attack, he threw a fan at her head. It was the “worst moment of my life,” she said, making her feel “utterly powerless,” briefly suicidal and extremely fearful “it would happen to me again and again.”

Ms. Star said she did not know what happened to her cellmate after she went to the infirmary to be treated; under the standards, victims are supposed to be kept apprised.

A national panel, established after the rape law to examine institutions with the best and worst records, visited Allred and could find no indication that any sexual abuse claims had been substantiated. It noted that a significant number of claims had been filed by gay inmates — “whom staff members referred to as queens.”

Lambda Legal, a national group that represents Ms. Star in a federal lawsuit, held a rally in support of her on Friday. Later, the group delivered a petition to the governor's office protesting her treatment. Credit Ilana Panich-Linsman for The New York Times

“A question remains as to whether complaints from homosexual inmates are treated as seriously as they deserve,” the panel said of Allred.

Texas has a very low rate of substantiating allegations. Of 743 reports of sexual assault and abuse in the 2013 budget year, 20 cases, or 2.7 percent, were corroborated; the national rate is 10 percent. One prison rape case was sent to a grand jury that year.

After the rape, Ms. Star was moved into “protective custody,” a form of solitary confinement that the standards say should be used for rape victims only short-term and if no alternative, such as safekeeping, is available.

Two weeks later, Ms. Star was transferred to a third prison, where her new cellmate made her watch him masturbate, she said.

“I freaked,” she said. “Immediately, I was like, ‘I can’t deal with this.’ For a long time, I bounced from cell to cell, cell to cell, cell to cell. And that’s when the tag ‘snitch’ started to stick to me, because I was complaining constantly about people trying to force me into things.”

She said that over the years, some prison officials had called her “faggot” and “punk”; others blamed her for bringing problems on herself. One suggested, using language that cannot be printed, that she perform oral sex, “fight or quit doing gay” stuff, her lawsuit says.

In her fourth and fifth prisons, Ms. Star’s complaints of continuing abuse and assault were dismissed with “formulaic” responses, her lawsuit says.

In denying her requests for safekeeping, Texas made references to her “assaultive history,” suggesting she could endanger other vulnerable inmates. Ms. Star says that her disciplinary history “is a direct reflection of T.D.C.J.’s not protecting me.”

“I have a disciplinary history for defending myself three or four times over 13 years,” she said. “I’ve never hurt anybody. But I’ve been hurt.”

Ms. Star was also denied parole — though her former boyfriend and co-defendant was released in April 2013, something Ms. Star learned in the interview.
“Wow,” she said. “That kind of makes me want to cry.”

On Nov. 19, 2013, with threats against her mounting, Ms. Star filed an emergency grievance appealing the most recent denial of her request for safekeeping. The next morning, heading to breakfast, Ms. Star found her path blocked by gang members. One repeatedly slashed her face with a razor. This was the attack that required the 36 stitches.

After that, she was transferred to her sixth prison. The same problems ensued. Begging again for safekeeping, Ms. Star wrote in a grievance: “Just recommending that I be transferred to another unit will not ensure my safety, just as it did not after the 3-29-07 sexual assault, nor after the 11-20-13 assault with a weapon. I am an offender with a ‘potential for victimization,’ otherwise I wouldn’t be constantly victimized and threatened by other offenders.”

This time, somebody listened. The prison’s classification committee agreed she should be put in safekeeping. The state, however, overruled it.

By this point, Ms. Star had been reaching out beyond prison walls — writing to the state-level corrections officials as well as to civil rights and advocacy groups, which report that they get more reports of sexual abuse from inmates in Texas than anywhere else.

“Passion is hardly alone, but she is incredibly intelligent, incredibly well organized, and her perseverance is unparalleled,” Ms. Humphrey said.

After the lawyer’s first visit with Ms. Star last summer, Ms. Star was moved into protective custody and spent 110 days in an 80-square-foot cell. Her lawsuit alleges that Texas officials “use confinement in isolation and the threat of isolation to deter people in custody from complaining about sexual abuse, threats and other assaults.”

Last November, Ms. Star was transferred to her seventh prison, William P. Clements, another prison with a very high rate of sexual victimization. She immediately found herself back among gang members she knew and encountered escalating threats of assault and rape.

In March, her lawyers filed an emergency motion asking that the court order Texas to place her in safekeeping or explain how it would otherwise keep her safe.

“I’m afraid Passion is going to get murdered — like this weekend,” Ms. Humphrey said then.

For that weekend, her lawyers agreed to let the authorities place Ms. Star back in solitary confinement while they negotiated a resolution. At that point, Texas appeared to be arguing that Ms. Star’s only alternative was to remain in isolation.

On March 20, The New York Times asked Texas for permission to interview Ms. Star.

On March 30, more than a decade after she says she first requested it, Texas put Passion Star in safekeeping. Her lawsuit, which seeks damages from the officials who allegedly failed to protect her, is continuing.

At the time of the interview, she had been in safekeeping only a couple of days, but already found the new atmosphere a relief. “Everybody’s calmer,” she said. “The tension level is extremely low. There are no gang influences that basically are threatening our lives. So it’s a change — a change for the better.”

As a reporter left the prison that day, an officer at the security entrance said, “So, did you see him-her?”

Fumbling for an answer, the reporter said yes, and that Ms. Star had been “very nice.”

“For a kidnapper,” the officer replied.

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G M
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« Reply #110 on: May 14, 2015, 04:05:19 PM »

Not much sympathy for the plaintiff here.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #111 on: May 15, 2015, 11:24:03 AM »

I confess myself to be bewildered at this notion of calling someone with a penis "she".
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G M
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« Reply #112 on: May 15, 2015, 12:37:54 PM »

I confess myself to be bewildered at this notion of calling someone with a penis "she".

In detentions/corrections, the litmus test for gender is the genitalia you currently possess. You might self identify as a German Shepard, it doesn't mean you will be housed in the dog pound.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #113 on: May 17, 2015, 11:21:37 AM »

http://www.addictinginfo.org/2014/09/24/this-judge-sold-children-to-private-prisons-for-cash-hes-going-down-for-28-years/
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #114 on: June 02, 2015, 12:29:33 PM »

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/06/02/opinion/reining-in-federal-prosecutors.html?emc=edit_th_20150602&nl=todaysheadlines&nlid=49641193
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #115 on: July 11, 2015, 03:46:36 PM »

http://www.theatlantic.com/features/archive/2015/02/the-many-causes-of-americas-decline-in-crime/385364/
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #116 on: July 13, 2015, 01:58:28 PM »

http://www.washingtonpost.com/posteverything/wp/2015/07/09/want-to-help-prisoners-stay-out-of-jail-teach-them-to-speak-chinese/?wpisrc=nl_headlines&wpmm=1
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G M
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« Reply #117 on: July 13, 2015, 09:34:29 PM »


 rolleyes
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #118 on: July 14, 2015, 12:46:24 AM »

Why the eye roll?
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G M
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« Reply #119 on: July 14, 2015, 07:29:52 AM »

The author of this piece is like many well intentioned types who really don't understand who they are working with.
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G M
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« Reply #120 on: July 14, 2015, 09:27:34 AM »



http://www.city-journal.org/2015/cjc0710jd.html

Decline?
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G M
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« Reply #121 on: July 14, 2015, 06:51:20 PM »

I currently am assigned to registering and tracking sex offenders, and as a result work with a variety of jurisdictions, including the feds. I have more work than hours in the day. I have donated a huge amount of time because my agency's lack of overtime funds. I wish I had the luxury of worrying about a lack of things to do to justify my position.

Who are they dealing with? The same criminal personalities that fill cells everywhere. The same ones that cry about missing their kids and swear they are never coming back that always do. They same ones that do well in the classes while they work on "downing a duck" the teacher/volunteer/chaplain.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #122 on: August 04, 2015, 11:20:52 AM »

Solitary Confinement: Punished for Life

By ERICA GOODEAUG. 3, 2015
Photo
Joseph Harmon spent eight years in solitary at Pelican Bay State Prison in California. He is now a preacher, but still feels the need to withdraw. Credit Max Whittaker for The New York Times

In 1993, Craig Haney, a social psychologist, interviewed a group of inmates in solitary confinement at Pelican Bay State Prison, California’s toughest penal institution.

He was studying the psychological effects of isolation on prisoners, and Pelican Bay was among the first of a new breed of super-maximum-security prisons that states around the country were beginning to build.

Twenty years later, he returned to the prison for another set of interviews. He was startled to find himself facing some of the same prisoners he had met before, inmates who now had spent more than two decades alone in windowless cells.

“It was shocking, frankly,” Dr. Haney said.

Few social scientists question that isolation can have harmful effects. Research over the last half-century has demonstrated that it can worsen mental illness and produce symptoms even in prisoners who start out psychologically robust.

But most studies have focused on laboratory volunteers or prison inmates who have been isolated for relatively short periods. Dr. Haney’s interviews offer the first systematic look at inmates isolated from normal human contact for much of their adult lives and the profound losses that such confinement appears to produce.

The interviews, conducted over the last two years as part of a lawsuit over prolonged solitary confinement at Pelican Bay, have not yet been written up as a formal study or reviewed by other researchers. But Dr. Haney’s work provides a vivid portrait of men so severely isolated that, to use Dr. Haney’s term, they have undergone a “social death.”

Sealed for years in a hermetic environment — one inmate likened the prison’s solitary confinement unit to “a weapons lab or a place for human experiments” — prisoners recounted struggling daily to maintain their sanity. They spoke of longing to catch sight of a tree or a bird. Many responded to their isolation by shutting down their emotions and withdrawing even further, shunning even the meager human conversation and company they were afforded.

“If you put a parakeet in a cage for years and you take it out, it will die,” one older prisoner said. “So I stay in my cage.”

In recent weeks, the use of prolonged solitary confinement, a practice that has been widespread in the United States, has received unprecedented levels of attention.
Continue reading the main story
Related Coverage



President Obama, who last month became the first president to visit a federal prison, questioned whether “we really think it makes sense to lock so many people alone in tiny cells for 23 hours a day, sometimes for months or even years at a time.”


And in a Supreme Court ruling in June, Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, writing about solitary confinement, noted that “near-total isolation exacts a terrible price.”

In 2012, the Center for Constitutional Rights filed suit in federal court against state officials on behalf of Pelican Bay inmates who had spent more than 10 years in solitary confinement, claiming that their prolonged isolation violated their Eighth Amendment rights. The parties are now in settlement negotiations, said Jules Lobel, the president of the center and a constitutional law professor at the University of Pittsburgh who is the lead lawyer for the case.

Advertisement
Continue reading the main story

Dr. Haney and several other expert witnesses retained by the plaintiffs’ lawyers prepared reports in the case, copies of which were obtained by The New York Times.

Dr. Haney, a professor of psychology at the University of California, Santa Cruz, interviewed 56 prisoners who had spent 10 to 28 years in solitary confinement in Pelican Bay’s security housing unit, or S.H.U., including seven men he had interviewed in 1993, eight plaintiffs in the lawsuit and 41 randomly selected inmates. For comparison, he also interviewed 25 maximum-security inmates who were not in solitary.

The inmates landed in prison following convictions for serious, often violent crimes. Paul Redd, 58, murdered a competing drug dealer; Gabriel Reyes, 49, was found guilty of burglary and sentenced under California’s three-strikes law. The lead plaintiff in the lawsuit, Todd Ashker, 52, was convicted of second-degree murder, burglary, assault with a deadly weapon and possession of a deadly weapon.

But most were placed in the isolation unit not because of their original crimes but because they were deemed to be gang members or gang associates, under California’s policy at the time. The state corrections department said that such long-term confinement was necessary because of gang killings in the prisons and attacks on staff members and other inmates.

Prison administrators say there are some inmates so violent or unmanageable they must be kept apart from other people. But consigning inmates to solitary for years — or even decades, as California has done — is viewed by an increasing number of top corrections officials around the country as unnecessary and ineffective, and some human rights groups have called it torture.

Many of the inmates Dr. Haney interviewed talked wistfully about mothers, wives and children they had neither touched nor spoken to for years — prisoners in the isolation unit were not allowed personal phone calls and were prohibited from physical contact during visits. Some had not had a single visitor during their years in solitary.

“I got a 15-minute phone call when my father died,” said one inmate who had been isolated for 24 years. “I realized I have family I don’t really know anymore, or even their voices.”

Another prisoner described placing photographs of his family facing the television in his cell and talking to them while he watched.

“Maybe I’m crazy, but it makes me feel like I’m with them,” he told Dr. Haney. “Maybe someday I’ll get to hug them.”

Some prisoners became so disoriented they began to question their own existence.
Photo
A guard handcuffed a prisoner in his cell in the secured housing unit at California's Pelican Bay State Prison before opening the door. Credit Jim Wilson/The New York Times

Another inmate said that the hour or so he had spent in the interview was “the most I’ve talked in years.”


The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, citing the continuing litigation, declined to comment on the lawsuit or on the reports of Dr. Haney or other expert witnesses for the plaintiffs. But since the lawsuit was filed, the department has moved many inmates who had been in isolation at Pelican Bay for more than a decade to other settings. All but two of the 10 inmates originally named as plaintiffs in the lawsuit are now in other facilities, according to Jeffrey Callison, a department spokesman.


In an interview, Dr. Haney said that he was especially struck by the profound sadness that many of the inmates he interviewed seemed to carry with them.

“The weight of what they had been through was apparent on them and in them,” he said.

“They were grieving for their lost lives, for their loss of connectedness to the social world and their families outside, and also for their lost selves,” he said. “Most of them really did understand that they had lost who they were, and weren’t sure of who they had become.”
‘There Is No Other Reality’

An estimated 75,000 state and federal prisoners in the United States are held in solitary confinement, according to prison experts. Most spend 23 or more hours a day in their cells, allowed out only for showers, brief exercise or activities like medical visits.

Prison experts say the use of long-term isolation escalated in the 1980s and 1990s, when many states, dealing with gang violence and overcrowding caused by stiffer sentences, built super-maximum-security facilities intended to house “the worst of the worst.”

In recent years, however, a growing number of states — driven by lawsuits, budgetary constraints and public opinion — have begun to reduce the number of prisoners in isolation. Prison consultants called in by state systems to assess the risks posed by the prisoners in solitary have often found that only a small minority require such restricted confinement.

Pelican Bay, when it opened in 1989 in a remote area near the Oregon border, quickly gained a reputation as one of the most severe penal institutions in the nation. The sprawling complex houses more than 2,700 prisoners, more than 1,000 of them in solitary confinement.

Other California prisons also have isolation units. But Pelican Bay’s S.H.U. was designed to minimize human interaction. The windowless, 7.6-feet-by-11.6-feet cells were built to face concrete walls. Doors opened and closed electronically. Corrections officers spoke to the inmates through intercoms.

Although prisoners could communicate with other inmates by shouting through steel doors perforated with little holes, or the ventilation shafts, they otherwise had little interaction.
Photo
At the Pelican Bay State prison, any sort of contact, such as this pinky shake between a guard, left, and a prisoner is rare. Credit Jim Wilson/The New York Times

“If you go to Corcoran, there’s a window; if you go to Tehachapi, there’s a window,” said Joseph Harmon, 51, a former gang leader who spent eight years in isolation at Pelican Bay after five years in solitary confinement at other prisons.

“At Pelican Bay, there is no other reality,” said Mr. Harmon, who said he was sent there after a violent attack on another inmate but eventually renounced gang activity and became a pastor in Stockton, Calif. “It was a tomb. It is concrete tomb.”

Gang members make up a significant portion of the inmates in solitary confinement around the country, in most cases placed there for acts of violence or disruption.

But until recently in California, any prisoner deemed to be a gang member or an associate of gang members, regardless of the prisoner’s behavior, was sent to Pelican Bay or one of the state’s three other security housing units for an indefinite period.

Advertisement
Continue reading the main story

The state’s gang policy shifted after several hunger strikes by inmates at Pelican Bay and other prisons and criticism by civil rights groups. The corrections department now uses different criteria to place inmates in isolation, and it has created a program that allows them to eventually work their way out.

Mr. Callison, the department spokesman, said that 1,081 inmates were currently housed in the security housing unit at Pelican Bay for indefinite terms. Of those, 34 have been there for more than 10 years and 28 for more than 20 years; in 2012, there were 308 inmates in the security unit who had been there for more than a decade. Most of those longtime inmates have entered the step-down program, Mr. Callison said.

Civil rights lawyers, however, have criticized the department’s program, saying that it takes too long to complete and that inmates are still held in isolation unnecessarily.

In a report prepared for the plaintiffs’ lawyers in the suit, James F. Austin, a corrections consultant, called the department’s revised procedures for assigning inmates to isolation “grossly inadequate.”

The step-down program, Dr. Austin added, was “flawed in its basic structure and needs to be significantly revised.”
‘Just Give Me the Death Penalty’

In 1993, the prisoners Dr. Haney interviewed reported high rates of psychiatric complaints like depression, irrational anger and confused thinking, and stress symptoms like dizziness and sweating hands.

When he returned to Pelican Bay, he expected that over two decades, those men would have adjusted to their circumstances.
Photo
Pelican Bay State Prison, near the Oregon border, has prisoners associated with gangs in isolation in the security housing unit. Credit California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation

But the inmates, Dr. Haney found, still had many of the same symptoms. “The passage of time had not significantly ameliorated their pain,” he wrote.

For comparison, Dr. Haney also interviewed 25 randomly selected maximum-security inmates at Pelican Bay who were not in solitary confinement.

While 63 percent of the men in solitary for more than 10 years said they felt close to an “impending breakdown,” only 4 percent of the maximum-security inmates reported feeling that way.

Similarly, among the prisoners in isolation, 73 percent reported chronic depression and 78 percent said they felt emotionally flat, compared with 48 percent and 36 percent among the maximum-security inmates.

In depositions prepared for the Pelican Bay lawsuit, the inmates in long-term solitary also described having anxiety, paranoia, perceptual disturbances and deep depression.

One plaintiff, Mr. Reyes,said he had severe insomnia and that in the silence of the isolation unit, he sometimes heard a voice calling his name and cell number. Other times, he said, “I just see spots, just little things move.”

Mr. Redd, said that his dreams were often violent but that they became that way only after coming to Pelican Bay.

“I didn’t even have dreams,” he said. “I didn’t even have thoughts of looking up at the top of my bunk and you see cracks on the bunk and say, ‘Hey, man, if they got a little earthquake, this wall, this top bunk is going to fall down on you.’ You know, you start getting a little nervous thing.”

Locked in his cell, Mr. Redd said, he often plunged into despair.

“It’s not to the point where you want to commit suicide,” he said, “but sometimes, I’m at the point that I’d be wanting to write the judge and say, ‘Just give me the death penalty. Just give me the death penalty, man.’ ”

Studies have found that suicides among prisoners in solitary confinement, who make up 3 to 8 percent of the nation’s prison population, account for about 50 percent of prison suicides. Cutting and other forms of self-harm are also more common in isolation units than in less restrictive settings.

Mr. Redd, who spent more than 11 years in Pelican Bay, has now been moved to a treatment facility at the State Prison at Corcoran.
Photo
Lonnie Rose, 64, who was released in 2013 after eight years in solitary, says he has difficulty in crowds and with obsessive-compulsive tendencies. Credit Max Whittaker for The New York Times

But other inmates’ experiences suggest the effects of his incarceration at Pelican Bay are likely to linger.

Dr. Terry Kupers, a psychiatrist and an expert on prison mental health issues, found in interviews of former Pelican Bay inmates conducted for the lawsuit that even years after their release, many still carried the psychological legacy of their confinement. They startled easily, avoided crowds, sought out confined spaces and were overwhelmed by sensory stimulation.

“They become very impaired in terms of relating to other people,” Dr. Kupers said.

Lonnie Rose, 64, was convicted of drug possession and sentenced under California’s three-strikes law. He was released in 2013 after eight years in isolation. At Pelican Bay, he said, he had worked hard to stay healthy.

“I was pretty much resigned to spend the rest of my life in that cell,” he said. “But what we do is make the best of a bad situation. I studied, I exercised; one day turns into another.”

Still, he said, he has difficulty in crowds, and his obsessive-compulsive tendencies, which worsened in solitary, have persisted.

“Everything has to be just so,” he said. “Being in a concrete box for a long time makes you even more O.C.D.”

Mr. Harmon, the former gang leader who was released from Pelican Bay in 2010, said that even five years later, he does not like people touching him.

“As a pastor, it’s hard,” he said. “People come up and want to touch you, they want to hug you.”

Mr. Harmon is married now and said he had put his past life behind him. But a few times a month, he is seized with the urge be alone in a small, silent space. He tells his wife, “Don’t talk to me,” and retreats to the bedroom.

“It’s just something that takes over my being,” he said.

Mr. Harmon said he thought he deserved to be in solitary confinement for a time.

“There are violent men in prison, and I was one of them,” he said. But, he added, “I’m against long-term mental torture.”

He compared an inmate in long-term isolation at Pelican Bay to a dog kept in a kennel for 10 years.

“Let that dog out of that cage and see how many people it bites,” he said. “I don’t understand why people can’t understand that concept. It’s simple.”
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« Reply #123 on: August 04, 2015, 08:29:01 PM »

Everyone in solitary worked hard to get there.


Solitary Confinement: Punished for Life

By ERICA GOODEAUG. 3, 2015
Photo
Joseph Harmon spent eight years in solitary at Pelican Bay State Prison in California. He is now a preacher, but still feels the need to withdraw. Credit Max Whittaker for The New York Times

In 1993, Craig Haney, a social psychologist, interviewed a group of inmates in solitary confinement at Pelican Bay State Prison, California’s toughest penal institution.

He was studying the psychological effects of isolation on prisoners, and Pelican Bay was among the first of a new breed of super-maximum-security prisons that states around the country were beginning to build.

Twenty years later, he returned to the prison for another set of interviews. He was startled to find himself facing some of the same prisoners he had met before, inmates who now had spent more than two decades alone in windowless cells.

“It was shocking, frankly,” Dr. Haney said.

Few social scientists question that isolation can have harmful effects. Research over the last half-century has demonstrated that it can worsen mental illness and produce symptoms even in prisoners who start out psychologically robust.

But most studies have focused on laboratory volunteers or prison inmates who have been isolated for relatively short periods. Dr. Haney’s interviews offer the first systematic look at inmates isolated from normal human contact for much of their adult lives and the profound losses that such confinement appears to produce.

The interviews, conducted over the last two years as part of a lawsuit over prolonged solitary confinement at Pelican Bay, have not yet been written up as a formal study or reviewed by other researchers. But Dr. Haney’s work provides a vivid portrait of men so severely isolated that, to use Dr. Haney’s term, they have undergone a “social death.”

Sealed for years in a hermetic environment — one inmate likened the prison’s solitary confinement unit to “a weapons lab or a place for human experiments” — prisoners recounted struggling daily to maintain their sanity. They spoke of longing to catch sight of a tree or a bird. Many responded to their isolation by shutting down their emotions and withdrawing even further, shunning even the meager human conversation and company they were afforded.

“If you put a parakeet in a cage for years and you take it out, it will die,” one older prisoner said. “So I stay in my cage.”

In recent weeks, the use of prolonged solitary confinement, a practice that has been widespread in the United States, has received unprecedented levels of attention.
Continue reading the main story
Related Coverage



President Obama, who last month became the first president to visit a federal prison, questioned whether “we really think it makes sense to lock so many people alone in tiny cells for 23 hours a day, sometimes for months or even years at a time.”


And in a Supreme Court ruling in June, Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, writing about solitary confinement, noted that “near-total isolation exacts a terrible price.”

In 2012, the Center for Constitutional Rights filed suit in federal court against state officials on behalf of Pelican Bay inmates who had spent more than 10 years in solitary confinement, claiming that their prolonged isolation violated their Eighth Amendment rights. The parties are now in settlement negotiations, said Jules Lobel, the president of the center and a constitutional law professor at the University of Pittsburgh who is the lead lawyer for the case.

Advertisement
Continue reading the main story

Dr. Haney and several other expert witnesses retained by the plaintiffs’ lawyers prepared reports in the case, copies of which were obtained by The New York Times.

Dr. Haney, a professor of psychology at the University of California, Santa Cruz, interviewed 56 prisoners who had spent 10 to 28 years in solitary confinement in Pelican Bay’s security housing unit, or S.H.U., including seven men he had interviewed in 1993, eight plaintiffs in the lawsuit and 41 randomly selected inmates. For comparison, he also interviewed 25 maximum-security inmates who were not in solitary.

The inmates landed in prison following convictions for serious, often violent crimes. Paul Redd, 58, murdered a competing drug dealer; Gabriel Reyes, 49, was found guilty of burglary and sentenced under California’s three-strikes law. The lead plaintiff in the lawsuit, Todd Ashker, 52, was convicted of second-degree murder, burglary, assault with a deadly weapon and possession of a deadly weapon.

But most were placed in the isolation unit not because of their original crimes but because they were deemed to be gang members or gang associates, under California’s policy at the time. The state corrections department said that such long-term confinement was necessary because of gang killings in the prisons and attacks on staff members and other inmates.

Prison administrators say there are some inmates so violent or unmanageable they must be kept apart from other people. But consigning inmates to solitary for years — or even decades, as California has done — is viewed by an increasing number of top corrections officials around the country as unnecessary and ineffective, and some human rights groups have called it torture.

Many of the inmates Dr. Haney interviewed talked wistfully about mothers, wives and children they had neither touched nor spoken to for years — prisoners in the isolation unit were not allowed personal phone calls and were prohibited from physical contact during visits. Some had not had a single visitor during their years in solitary.

“I got a 15-minute phone call when my father died,” said one inmate who had been isolated for 24 years. “I realized I have family I don’t really know anymore, or even their voices.”

Another prisoner described placing photographs of his family facing the television in his cell and talking to them while he watched.

“Maybe I’m crazy, but it makes me feel like I’m with them,” he told Dr. Haney. “Maybe someday I’ll get to hug them.”

Some prisoners became so disoriented they began to question their own existence.
Photo
A guard handcuffed a prisoner in his cell in the secured housing unit at California's Pelican Bay State Prison before opening the door. Credit Jim Wilson/The New York Times

Another inmate said that the hour or so he had spent in the interview was “the most I’ve talked in years.”


The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, citing the continuing litigation, declined to comment on the lawsuit or on the reports of Dr. Haney or other expert witnesses for the plaintiffs. But since the lawsuit was filed, the department has moved many inmates who had been in isolation at Pelican Bay for more than a decade to other settings. All but two of the 10 inmates originally named as plaintiffs in the lawsuit are now in other facilities, according to Jeffrey Callison, a department spokesman.


In an interview, Dr. Haney said that he was especially struck by the profound sadness that many of the inmates he interviewed seemed to carry with them.

“The weight of what they had been through was apparent on them and in them,” he said.

“They were grieving for their lost lives, for their loss of connectedness to the social world and their families outside, and also for their lost selves,” he said. “Most of them really did understand that they had lost who they were, and weren’t sure of who they had become.”
‘There Is No Other Reality’

An estimated 75,000 state and federal prisoners in the United States are held in solitary confinement, according to prison experts. Most spend 23 or more hours a day in their cells, allowed out only for showers, brief exercise or activities like medical visits.

Prison experts say the use of long-term isolation escalated in the 1980s and 1990s, when many states, dealing with gang violence and overcrowding caused by stiffer sentences, built super-maximum-security facilities intended to house “the worst of the worst.”

In recent years, however, a growing number of states — driven by lawsuits, budgetary constraints and public opinion — have begun to reduce the number of prisoners in isolation. Prison consultants called in by state systems to assess the risks posed by the prisoners in solitary have often found that only a small minority require such restricted confinement.

Pelican Bay, when it opened in 1989 in a remote area near the Oregon border, quickly gained a reputation as one of the most severe penal institutions in the nation. The sprawling complex houses more than 2,700 prisoners, more than 1,000 of them in solitary confinement.

Other California prisons also have isolation units. But Pelican Bay’s S.H.U. was designed to minimize human interaction. The windowless, 7.6-feet-by-11.6-feet cells were built to face concrete walls. Doors opened and closed electronically. Corrections officers spoke to the inmates through intercoms.

Although prisoners could communicate with other inmates by shouting through steel doors perforated with little holes, or the ventilation shafts, they otherwise had little interaction.
Photo
At the Pelican Bay State prison, any sort of contact, such as this pinky shake between a guard, left, and a prisoner is rare. Credit Jim Wilson/The New York Times

“If you go to Corcoran, there’s a window; if you go to Tehachapi, there’s a window,” said Joseph Harmon, 51, a former gang leader who spent eight years in isolation at Pelican Bay after five years in solitary confinement at other prisons.

“At Pelican Bay, there is no other reality,” said Mr. Harmon, who said he was sent there after a violent attack on another inmate but eventually renounced gang activity and became a pastor in Stockton, Calif. “It was a tomb. It is concrete tomb.”

Gang members make up a significant portion of the inmates in solitary confinement around the country, in most cases placed there for acts of violence or disruption.

But until recently in California, any prisoner deemed to be a gang member or an associate of gang members, regardless of the prisoner’s behavior, was sent to Pelican Bay or one of the state’s three other security housing units for an indefinite period.

Advertisement
Continue reading the main story

The state’s gang policy shifted after several hunger strikes by inmates at Pelican Bay and other prisons and criticism by civil rights groups. The corrections department now uses different criteria to place inmates in isolation, and it has created a program that allows them to eventually work their way out.

Mr. Callison, the department spokesman, said that 1,081 inmates were currently housed in the security housing unit at Pelican Bay for indefinite terms. Of those, 34 have been there for more than 10 years and 28 for more than 20 years; in 2012, there were 308 inmates in the security unit who had been there for more than a decade. Most of those longtime inmates have entered the step-down program, Mr. Callison said.

Civil rights lawyers, however, have criticized the department’s program, saying that it takes too long to complete and that inmates are still held in isolation unnecessarily.

In a report prepared for the plaintiffs’ lawyers in the suit, James F. Austin, a corrections consultant, called the department’s revised procedures for assigning inmates to isolation “grossly inadequate.”

The step-down program, Dr. Austin added, was “flawed in its basic structure and needs to be significantly revised.”
‘Just Give Me the Death Penalty’

In 1993, the prisoners Dr. Haney interviewed reported high rates of psychiatric complaints like depression, irrational anger and confused thinking, and stress symptoms like dizziness and sweating hands.

When he returned to Pelican Bay, he expected that over two decades, those men would have adjusted to their circumstances.
Photo
Pelican Bay State Prison, near the Oregon border, has prisoners associated with gangs in isolation in the security housing unit. Credit California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation

But the inmates, Dr. Haney found, still had many of the same symptoms. “The passage of time had not significantly ameliorated their pain,” he wrote.

For comparison, Dr. Haney also interviewed 25 randomly selected maximum-security inmates at Pelican Bay who were not in solitary confinement.

While 63 percent of the men in solitary for more than 10 years said they felt close to an “impending breakdown,” only 4 percent of the maximum-security inmates reported feeling that way.

Similarly, among the prisoners in isolation, 73 percent reported chronic depression and 78 percent said they felt emotionally flat, compared with 48 percent and 36 percent among the maximum-security inmates.

In depositions prepared for the Pelican Bay lawsuit, the inmates in long-term solitary also described having anxiety, paranoia, perceptual disturbances and deep depression.

One plaintiff, Mr. Reyes,said he had severe insomnia and that in the silence of the isolation unit, he sometimes heard a voice calling his name and cell number. Other times, he said, “I just see spots, just little things move.”

Mr. Redd, said that his dreams were often violent but that they became that way only after coming to Pelican Bay.

“I didn’t even have dreams,” he said. “I didn’t even have thoughts of looking up at the top of my bunk and you see cracks on the bunk and say, ‘Hey, man, if they got a little earthquake, this wall, this top bunk is going to fall down on you.’ You know, you start getting a little nervous thing.”

Locked in his cell, Mr. Redd said, he often plunged into despair.

“It’s not to the point where you want to commit suicide,” he said, “but sometimes, I’m at the point that I’d be wanting to write the judge and say, ‘Just give me the death penalty. Just give me the death penalty, man.’ ”

Studies have found that suicides among prisoners in solitary confinement, who make up 3 to 8 percent of the nation’s prison population, account for about 50 percent of prison suicides. Cutting and other forms of self-harm are also more common in isolation units than in less restrictive settings.

Mr. Redd, who spent more than 11 years in Pelican Bay, has now been moved to a treatment facility at the State Prison at Corcoran.
Photo
Lonnie Rose, 64, who was released in 2013 after eight years in solitary, says he has difficulty in crowds and with obsessive-compulsive tendencies. Credit Max Whittaker for The New York Times

But other inmates’ experiences suggest the effects of his incarceration at Pelican Bay are likely to linger.

Dr. Terry Kupers, a psychiatrist and an expert on prison mental health issues, found in interviews of former Pelican Bay inmates conducted for the lawsuit that even years after their release, many still carried the psychological legacy of their confinement. They startled easily, avoided crowds, sought out confined spaces and were overwhelmed by sensory stimulation.

“They become very impaired in terms of relating to other people,” Dr. Kupers said.

Lonnie Rose, 64, was convicted of drug possession and sentenced under California’s three-strikes law. He was released in 2013 after eight years in isolation. At Pelican Bay, he said, he had worked hard to stay healthy.

“I was pretty much resigned to spend the rest of my life in that cell,” he said. “But what we do is make the best of a bad situation. I studied, I exercised; one day turns into another.”

Still, he said, he has difficulty in crowds, and his obsessive-compulsive tendencies, which worsened in solitary, have persisted.

“Everything has to be just so,” he said. “Being in a concrete box for a long time makes you even more O.C.D.”

Mr. Harmon, the former gang leader who was released from Pelican Bay in 2010, said that even five years later, he does not like people touching him.

“As a pastor, it’s hard,” he said. “People come up and want to touch you, they want to hug you.”

Mr. Harmon is married now and said he had put his past life behind him. But a few times a month, he is seized with the urge be alone in a small, silent space. He tells his wife, “Don’t talk to me,” and retreats to the bedroom.

“It’s just something that takes over my being,” he said.

Mr. Harmon said he thought he deserved to be in solitary confinement for a time.

“There are violent men in prison, and I was one of them,” he said. But, he added, “I’m against long-term mental torture.”

He compared an inmate in long-term isolation at Pelican Bay to a dog kept in a kennel for 10 years.

“Let that dog out of that cage and see how many people it bites,” he said. “I don’t understand why people can’t understand that concept. It’s simple.”
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #124 on: August 05, 2015, 09:01:52 AM »

Then keep them locked up, but the mass use of long term solitary seems over the top to me.
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« Reply #125 on: August 05, 2015, 07:55:24 PM »

Then keep them locked up, but the mass use of long term solitary seems over the top to me.

Do the violent acts, including murders that occur both inside and outside the facilities when these offenders are in GPOP seem over the top? What is a better option?
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« Reply #126 on: August 05, 2015, 09:08:15 PM »

Keep them locked up but with human interaction, even if through the bars of the cells, as part of the equation.
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« Reply #127 on: August 05, 2015, 09:13:01 PM »

Keep them locked up but with human interaction, even if through the bars of the cells, as part of the equation.


So they can stab passers by with improvised weapons and toss bodily fluids and pass notes on who to kill?
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« Reply #128 on: August 05, 2015, 09:15:30 PM »

http://www.latimes.com/local/crime/la-me-jail-gassing-20140711-story.html
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« Reply #129 on: August 05, 2015, 09:27:08 PM »

http://www.theatlantic.com/features/archive/2014/09/how-gangs-took-over-prisons/379330/
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