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Martial Arts Topics / Surviving Mob Attacks on Your Vehicle
« on: September 24, 2016, 10:24:19 AM »

Surviving Mob Attacks on Your Vehicle

Written by Greg Ellifritz

Topics: Tactical Training Scenarios


Written by- Greg Ellifritz


Seeing some of the recent incidents going on in North Carolina and in other places, I decided to repost this one.  It’s a good primer on dealing with violent protesters if they surround your car.  Stay dangerous.




Watching some violent “protests”  got me thinking about individual tactics for escaping riots and demonstrations.


One scenario I saw playing out over and over again was when a mass of protesters blocked a road or highway. Those “protesters” would occasionally attack people in the cars that were stopped on the roadway. Others used the opportunity to carjack the victims and steal their cars. In one such carjacking attempt, an elderly man was dragged from his car by carjackers and beaten with his own oxygen tank.


Clearly, we need to take a look at the options available when our cars are surrounded by criminal attackers.


As I started writing the article, a new entry from Active Self Protection popped up in my RSS feed. John over at ASP apparently had the same idea and provided an excellent video critique and learning points in his video “Using Your Car To Escape a Mob“.  John covered most of the issues that I had planned to write about, so I’ll make a suggestion that you watch his video analysis before we continue. He brings up some very good points.


I’ll continue the discussion by bringing up a few issues he did not address:


1) Avoidance is key. Many protests and riots are either predictable or planned in advance. Stay away from the riots if you want to avoid being victimized! When you see masses of people blocking the roadways, STOP. Don’t go any farther. Do whatever necessary to change directions and get out of the area. If you are alert, you should be able to see these masses of people far enough in advance that you can act before being surrounded. It goes without saying that if you are texting, talking on the phone, or watching a DVD while driving, you may not be paying enough attention to save yourself. Don’t get distracted by electronic devices when driving.


2) You can’t just run people over if they are in the road. The safest thing to do in a situation like this is to keep moving, bumping people out of the way with your car. Unfortunately, that isn’t legal. It’s considered vehicular assault. Even if people are illegally blocking the road, you will likely go to jail if you run them down absent a legitimate threat to your life. See why awareness is so important? Getting away from the kill zone both keeps you safe and out of jail.


3) The situation changes, however, once the rioters attack you or your vehicle. With your vehicle surrounded in a manner that you can’t escape and your attackers being trying to burn your car, flip it over, or drag you out, it is reasonable to assume that you will suffer serious injury or death. That’s when you can start striking people with your car. Don’t get out and shoot. You will quickly be overwhelmed and your gun will be taken from you. Instead, accelerate steadily and forcefully, driving away from the surrounding rioters. Steady movement is the key. Hitting folks too hard can disable your vehicle. As John suggests, use your vehicle to push people out of the way rather than striking them.


4) Doors locked and seat belt OFF. It should go without saying that your doors should be locked when driving. If your doors don’t automatically lock, get in the habit of locking them manually as soon as you get inside. You don’t want the crowd to be able to easily open your door and drag you out.
You may not have enough time to do it, but cracking your windows and turning off your ventilation system would also be a good idea when driving in areas where crowds may gather.  Windows that are down approximately 1/2″ are actually harder to break than windows that are tightly closed. You want to turn off the ventilation system so you don’t get overcome by any smoke or tear gas that is in the air where you are driving.


Your seat belt should be off. Seat belts will reduce your ability to draw a firearm. They will also prohibit you from making a speedy escape should your vehicle be set on fire or overturned. In general, it’s safer to stay inside the car in a crowd. If Molotov cocktails hit your car, drive quickly away. The wind will likely extinguish the burning liquid before you are hurt. If the car is disabled, and under fire attack, get out. It’s best to take your chances on foot than be trapped inside and burned alive.


5) Tear gas grenades may or may not work.  Many people have asked me about the utility of carrying a couple of pepper spray grenades in the car with you for the purpose of keeping large gangs away from your vehicle.  I carry a couple in my car, but I would be hesitant to recommend the tactic.  In order to deploy the grenades, you’ll have to get out of the car or lower the windows.  Both of those actions dramatically increase your risk.  The crowd may be wearing gas masks or the like as well.  I think the grenades would work better if you were on foot than they would if you are attacked in a vehicle.


6) Carry your gun on your person, not in the car.  Some folks like using holsters that mount under the dash or on the steering column for just this type of criminal act.  I think it’s a bad idea.  If you have to bail out of the car quickly, you may not have a chance to grab the gun.  Do you want to abandon a firearm and leave it in the hands of the rioters?  I would hope not.  Carry your gun on your person.  Don’t leave it in your console, glove compartment or special “counter carjacker” holster on the steering wheel.


7) Beware of other forms of roadblocks.  The roadblocks designed to make you stop, may not take the form of people.  The rioters will steal cars and then purposely abandon them in the middle of roadways.  It causes you to stop and also prevents police/fire vehicles from getting to the scene.  It’s a common occurrence around the world.   Even more notorious are homemade caltrops.  A bunch of those strewn across the roadway would cause all kinds of havoc.


Take a look at the tactics used by rioters and protesters around the world.  Commit to avoiding areas where such protests are occurring.  If you do get caught up in the mob violence, consider some of the tips above to make it out safely.

Martial Arts Topics / Shotgun myths
« on: June 09, 2016, 06:59:52 AM »

Get a good shotty, and get some training.

Martial Arts Topics / Scenes from the growing chaos
« on: May 27, 2016, 07:36:09 AM »

Grievance Theater Night at the L.A. Police Commission

Pity the man who is so unfortunate as to have to appear before the Los Angeles Police Commission. First, he must endure the trip to downtown Los Angeles, an hour’s drive or maybe much more from some of the city’s outlying communities. Then he must find a place to park, no easy task amid all the construction and street closures that are often added to the customary gridlock around the civic center. If he manages to find a spot on the street, he must be mindful of the time, for his car will be ticketed or perhaps towed if it remains in the spot even seconds beyond the posted limit. If he parks in a parking lot, he will be charged an exorbitant sum for the privilege. And, no matter where he parks, as he walks to the police headquarters building he will encounter any number of panhandling vagrants who have wandered away from nearby skid row in search of “spare change.” Upon arrival at the headquarters building, he will subjected to a security screening akin to those performed at airports.

After all of that, he will be allowed to take a seat in the police commission meeting room to await his turn to speak. And it is at this point that all of the inconveniences described above will seem trivial.

Public meetings in any city or town – city council, school board, or what have you – attract their own regulars: the gadflies and cranks who appear at meeting after meeting and demand to be heard, most often reciting some variation of the tale they’ve been telling for weeks, months, or even years. The L.A. police commission has its share of these people, and in a city of four million people, that share is quite large. But lately, added to this usual roster of gadflies and cranks have been the crankiest people in town, the local chapter of the Black Lives Matter movement. So while our hapless citizen waits patiently to plead his case before the commission, he must sit and listen as the BLM people parade to the microphone, using their allotted two minutes (and usually more) to berate, belittle, and insult the commissioners and police chief Charlie Beck, often in language that is unprintable here.

If you want to know why LAPD officers are dispirited these days, if you want to know why they may be feeling the weight of the “Ferguson effect” and are reluctant to place their mortal hides on the line in the cause of reducing crime in the city, look no further than the commission that oversees the department. The police commission is a five-person body whose members are appointed by the mayor. It sets policy for the LAPD, and every member of the department, from the greenest rookie to the chief, serves under its authority.

In theory, this system of civilian oversight is an admirable arrangement. It becomes less admirable when that oversight is provided by people who are disconnected from the more unpleasant realities faced by police officers on the streets, and who in some cases are even hostile to the officers they purport to lead. Bear in mind that commissioners are selected not on the basis of any expertise they might have in law enforcement. Rather, they are chosen so as to satisfy demands for “diversity” on the panel. But this diversity, as is most often the case when the term is used today, does not extend to a diversity of thought or political opinion, only of race, sex, and sexual orientation. As it’s currently composed, the police commission is uniformly liberal, albeit with some members leaning farther to the left than others.

So how troubling it must be for the commissioners, good liberals all, to sit there and listen to the relentless invective spewing from people with whom, if the commissioners were candid enough to admit it, they are largely in agreement.

Last September, I wrote here on PJ Media on the abrupt departure of Paula Madison from the L.A. police commission. In discussing a controversial police shooting, Madison had made it a bit too clear that she was motivated by a racial grievance agenda, and in so doing she became a liability to Mayor Eric Garcetti. As I wrote at the time, “Mayor Garcetti does not necessarily object to his police commissioners being motivated by a racial agenda, but he insists that they be more guarded about it in their public pronouncements.”

So out the door she went, leaving it to Mayor Garcetti to appoint entertainment attorney Matthew Johnson to fill what we might call the black seat on the panel. Johnson was promptly voted in as president of the commission and now serves as its front man during what for it has been a tumultuous time. The commission holds its public meetings every Tuesday morning, and at these meeting members of the LAPD, most often headquarters types, make presentations, usually accompanied by PowerPoint slides, on matters which both the presenters and the commissioners pretend to understand. Members of the public are invited to speak for two minutes on agenda items, and are required to submit a written request before being allowed to speak.

All well and good, in theory if not always in practice. Rather than serving as an exercise in open, participatory governance, the commission meetings have devolved into farce, with the meetings regularly disrupted by protesters who defy calls for them to behave themselves. A typical scenario goes like this: at the time designated for public comment, BLM protesters, having submitted their cards, take turns at the microphone trying to outperform the previous speaker. When they talk beyond their allotted two minutes, Mr. Johnson gives them several warnings, including multiple “last warnings,” before asking a handful of beleaguered police officers to escort the person back to his seat or, in the case of the more obstreperous ones, out of the room. But the officers are under strict orders not to lay a hand on anyone, so things often turn into comical ballets in which a speaker dances around and continues to heckle the commission while the officers try to coral him without touching them. This brings an uproar from the offending speaker’s cohort, who themselves begin to chant and carry on, forcing the commission to interrupt the meeting and clear the room. This happens nearly every week.

In a lame attempt to curb these theatrics, Mr. Johnson wrote an op-ed piece in the May 12 edition of the Los Angeles Sentinel, a newspaper marketed to L.A.’s black community. In that piece, titled “Dialogue, not disruption, is the path to LAPD reform,” Johnson made it clear that he is very much in agreement with the sentiments of the Black Lives Matter Movement, but not its tactics. In his more than 1,500 words, he detailed the LAPD’s “checkered past which contributed to civil unrest in 1965 and 1992.” But he emphasized that he and his fellow police commissioners are now firmly in charge of the department and that those bad old days are truly over. Nowhere in the piece does he offer any encouraging words for the officers he purports to lead, nor does he address the city’s rising crime that disproportionately affects black neighborhoods. To cite just the most startling number in recent crime statistics, in the LAPD’s Southwest Division, murders are up 275 percent this year over the same period in 2015.

And Johnson is not the only member of the police commission whose priorities would seem askew. At the May 17 meeting (you can watch it here), Robert Saltzman, current occupier of the commission’s homosexual seat, opened the meeting by saying he had been a speaker at a police academy graduation ceremony the previous Friday. He went on to say how pleased he was that the graduating class was 11 percent black and 22 percent female. All well and good, one supposes, but it then fell to Mr. Johnson to address the issue of the two LAPD officers who had been shot later on that same Friday. It’s probably too much to ask, but in the future Mr. Saltzman might delay the diversity bean-counting discussion until after the matter of two wounded cops has been addressed.

In a career that lasted more than 30 years with the LAPD, I had occasion to meet just two police commissioners. I am led to believe by my former colleagues that the current commissioners are not in the habit of getting out and mixing with the troops. Watch just a few minutes of the meeting linked to above, or of any of the meetings available at that website, and it will be apparent why this is so.

Martial Arts Topics / Re: Ohio Family Massacre
« on: April 26, 2016, 09:30:24 PM »

Not possible. I've been told that marijuana is totally peaceful and Mexicans that illegally cross the border are wonderful individuals only here to work hard.

Martial Arts Topics / Re: Dark symbolism in the Martial Arts
« on: April 26, 2016, 05:58:53 AM »
I'm a little lost on how the Satanic Bible made its way into a discussion on Martial Arts, as in the linked image. For me that's a first. It's a slippery slope and it's all downhill. My concern is the kind of minds and attitudes now expressing themselves, and where this will lead.

What you see ion martial arts is a microcosm of the much larger social pathologies taking place.

Martial Arts Topics / Re: Dark symbolism in the Martial Arts
« on: April 25, 2016, 08:21:58 AM »
There is a recent trend towards the darker end of the violence spectrum. There is a popularity in training that emphasises the skill and mindset of the criminally minded.

This has value. I've learned a great deal in my investigations, however I am seeing a failure to detach from this mindset at the end of the day, rather I'm seeing an absorption into criminal culture. And what has started as a way to differentiate as counterculture has morphed to become dark symbolism, with death cult and even occasional Satanic leanings.

Hot lead poisoning is the appropriate answer to some of the bad people in the world, however I also believe warriors must have virtue. Adopting the mindset of evil people without balance allows toxic thoughts to infect minds, to remain unpurged. I've seen people go bad, it starts subtly at first as the slow normalisation of deviance. I don't see it as psychologically healthy, or a positive trend.

Any thoughts from you on this?

Two recent examples:

We live in the burning times. Much ofthe country has lost it's moral core, and it's grasp of reality. Bad things fester in that void.

Martial Arts Topics / Re: Military vehicles for police?
« on: January 14, 2016, 05:47:01 PM »
I've bumped heads with GM on various aspects of the militarization of police issue various times, but in that I search for Truth, I post this one too, the contents of which I suspect will please him:

Espanol Discussion / Re: Mexico
« on: November 01, 2015, 08:31:10 PM »
That, or arresting one of my own partners for working as an assassin in the cartel.  It all goes on. I get a sense of not fearing anything anymore, because you know, you're already dead and no one, not even the law is untouchable, and well.. life is cheap. GM.... I'm still not dead.


Martial Arts Topics / Let's be clear
« on: September 11, 2015, 03:56:07 PM »

On 9/11, Let’s Be Clear About Which Countries Have A Real Rogue Cop Problem, and Why

Where, and why, are police actually participating in the heinous targeting of a certain population?
by Robert Spencer

September 11, 2015 - 11:31 am

Do #InfidelLivesMatter?

It’s open season on police officers these days, because many black Americans believe that it’s open season on them. And while some police officers are no doubt hateful, corrupt, and compromised to powerful interests, in the main one must go out of the country to find the real rogue cops: police officers who aid and abet, and sometimes even participate in, the terrorizing of their own people.


Last week, the Supreme Court of Pakistan took the unusual step of criticizing the police’s failure to intervene in the case of a couple, Shahzad and Shama Masih, who were murdered by a lynch mob in Kot Radha Kishan, Punjab, in November 2014. Five police officers stood by and did nothing while a frenzied mob murdered the Masihs.

Why didn’t they step in and stop the lynching? Because the Masihs were Christians, accused of blasphemy.

Blasphemy is a capital crime in Pakistan, but all too often the death sentence is carried out not by duly constituted authorities, but by slavering mobs such as killed Shahzad and Shama Masih.

Police, sharing the mob’s world view, stand by and let it happen.

Sometimes these rogue cops do worse than just stand by while infidels are brutalized.

Earlier this summer in Indonesia, police in the West Papuan city of Karubaga opened fire on worshippers at the local congregation of the Evangelical Church of Indonesia (GIDI), killing a fifteen-year-old boy, Endi Wanimbo, and wounding eleven other Christians. Indonesian authorities have hastened to protect the perpetrators: they have neither arrested the police officers responsible, nor released their names.

National police chief General Badrodin Haiti explained:

The victims were shot because they were pelting stones at Muslims who were just performing Eid prayers.

However, Natalius Pigai of the National Commission for Human Rights contradicted Haiti:

It seems to have been a misunderstanding that Evangelical Church of Indonesia (GIDI) is being hostile to Islam. In fact, they were not planning to burn the mosque. People were upset because of the police shootings.

Haiti appears to be another rogue cop, willing to bend the truth to protect Muslims who harm Christians.

Most troubling, the problem of cops protecting Muslim perpetrators has been occurring in Western countries, too.

In non-Muslim countries, “infidel” police officers are so afraid of offending ever-so-easily-offended Muslim sensibilities that they turn a blind eye to crimes committed by Muslims — particularly when there is justification for such crimes in Islamic scripture and law.

The most appalling example of this came in the British city of Rotherham. There, 1,400 British non-Muslim children were gang-raped and brutalized by Muslims whose actions found Islamic justification in the Qur’an’s allowance for men to take non-Muslim “captives of the right hand” for use as sex slaves (4:3, 4:24, 23:1-6, 33:50).

Police hesitated to act for fear of being considered “Islamophobic.”

A whistleblower noted the following about members of the Rotherham council:

They described their nervousness about identifying the ethnic origins of perpetrators for fear of being thought as racist; others remembered clear direction from their managers not to do so.

Last November, the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) announced that it was going to investigate ten officers of the South Yorkshire Police Department for their role in covering up the activities of Muslim rape gangs in Rotherham.

But in this case, the cops weren’t rogue; their superiors were. These ten police officers were just being set up to take the fall.

The real people responsible for the 1,400 abused children in Rotherham were those who — like far-Left hate campaigners Nick Lowles and Fiyaz Mughal — created a culture in which those who knew about this hesitated to speak out, and in which police officers drew back from doing what they should have done for fear of being called “racist.”

They are the ones who ought to be put on trial — Lowles and Mughal and their ilk.

These police officers, if they did cover up the activities of these rape gangs, were just the symptoms of the problem, not its cause.

In Rotherham, the situation was the same as in Kot Radha Kishan and Karubaga. Muslims victimized infidels, while police stood by and did nothing for fear of angering the dominant power. As the trumped-up anxiety over “Islamophobia” continues against a backdrop of ongoing and increasing jihad activity in the U.S. as called for by the Islamic State, we will see many, many more such rogue cops.

Until, that is, there is general recognition that #InfidelLivesMatter.

Martial Arts Topics / Re: Cops & Cultural Divides
« on: August 14, 2015, 07:11:05 PM »
An accurate assessment in my estimation:

There are some that is true of, but hardly a comprehensive view of the topic. The public gets the police gets the law enforcement it wants and deserves.

Martial Arts Topics / Re: Crime and Punishment
« on: August 05, 2015, 07:13:01 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?

Martial Arts Topics / Re: Crime and Punishment
« on: August 05, 2015, 05:55:24 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?

Martial Arts Topics / Re: Long term solitary
« on: August 04, 2015, 06:29:01 PM »
Everyone in solitary worked hard to get there.

Solitary Confinement: Punished for Life

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.

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.
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.
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.

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.
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.
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.”

Martial Arts Topics / Re: Crime and Punishment
« on: July 14, 2015, 04:51:20 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.

Martial Arts Topics / Re: Crime and Punishment
« on: July 14, 2015, 05:29:52 AM »
The author of this piece is like many well intentioned types who really don't understand who they are working with.

Martial Arts Topics / Obama Crime Wave
« on: May 31, 2015, 08:21:35 AM »
I smell whiffs of anarchy. Looks like you all up there are starting to join the party. Stay safe.

A society that declares war on it's police better make friends with it's criminals.

Martial Arts Topics / Re: Crime and Punishment
« on: May 15, 2015, 10:37:54 AM »
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.

Martial Arts Topics / Re: Crime and Punishment
« on: May 14, 2015, 02:05:19 PM »
Not much sympathy for the plaintiff here.

Martial Arts Topics / Re: POTH on rape in jail
« on: May 14, 2015, 10:13:49 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.

Donde esta ?

Martial Arts Topics / Re: Crime and Punishment
« on: May 12, 2015, 10:06:15 AM »
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.

Martial Arts Topics / Re: Crime and Punishment
« on: May 11, 2015, 12:24:04 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.

Martial Arts Topics / Re: Crime and Punishment
« on: May 11, 2015, 07:06:39 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.

Martial Arts Topics / Re: Crime and Punishment
« on: May 10, 2015, 04:55:28 PM »
Funny how deep blue states seems to be awash with both debt and corruption.

Martial Arts Topics / Re: Baltimore jail
« on: May 10, 2015, 08:52:57 AM » 
 :-o :-o :-o

Well, government is a name for something we do together, according to our president.

Martial Arts Topics / Re: Law Enforcement issues and LE in action
« on: May 08, 2015, 06:52:35 PM »
It is a terrible idea.

Martial Arts Topics / Re: Citizen-Police interactions
« on: April 12, 2015, 06:32:47 PM »
An epic goat rope.



Some criminals still have a sense of right and wrong. It may not match society's rules, but sex offenders, especially those that victimize children are at the bottom of the criminal caste system and often the targets of violence.

Martial Arts Topics / Re: Law Enforcement issues and LE in action
« on: March 02, 2015, 03:09:03 AM »
No doubt the officer was just lurking about, awaiting the opportunity to deliver a vicious beat down on a grandmother bearing baked goods. Just another case of the day to day oppression elderly white women suffer through.


Martial Arts Topics / Re: WSJ: Atheist shoots three Muslims,
« on: February 14, 2015, 09:23:39 PM »
The shooter was a hardcore lefty, and so this story will die quietly.

Martial Arts Topics / Re: Law Enforcement issues and LE in action
« on: January 25, 2015, 09:04:15 PM »
Very compelling footage.  In such a moment the pastor must have been very stressful for him.  There were moments there where to my eye if the BG still had one more exertion in him, he might have had a free shot.

I hope the pastor gets charged for obstructing or whatever the charge is called in Oklahoma.

Martial Arts Topics / Re: 17 year old gets 35 years for credit card fraud
« on: January 17, 2015, 04:17:08 AM »

My bs detector is going off. Looked and can't find anything from an actual media source.

Martial Arts Topics / Re: Law Enforcement issues and LE in action
« on: December 26, 2014, 03:48:17 PM »
There have been angry protests, yet nothing burned or looted and not a national story. Why?

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