Legalized Torture: Awareness Builds Around Long-Term Solitary Confinement

A Clean Version of Hell

There is more and more attention being drawn to the inhumane treatment that comes from prolonged isolation which 25,000 prisoners are subjected to every day in the US prison system.

Independent Kiilu Nyasha just wrote a great article entitled America’s Supermax Prisons Do Torture on how the US government has legalized torture through its excessive use of solitary confinement and isolation units.  It’s a problem gone largely unnoticed in our country.  There are now 60 supermax prisons in the US, the largest of which is right here in in this state- Supermax ADX-Florence.  In addition, nearly all maximum-security prisons have isolation units.

In his recent article, Hellhole: Is long-term solitary confinement torture?,  New Yorker columnist asks aloud, “If prolonged isolation is – as research and experience have confirmed for decades –so objectively horrifying, so intrinsically cruel, how did we end up with a prison system that may subject more of our own citizens to it than any other country in history has?”

These isolation units and Supermax prisons hold prisoners in solitary confinement every minute of these prisoners lives.  The only respite from their cells is a one hour session of exercise in a concrete room with no equipment and still alone.

Political prisoners are disproportionately represented in these isolation units, this even when the prisoners have clean records within prison.  In fact, the Florence Supermax is home to many of these political prisoners, including Black liberation prisoner Mutulu Shakur and Imam Jalil al-Amin.

60 Minutes recently did an excellent piece, Supermax: A Clean Version of Hell (revisited) which touches on the continual resistance shown by prisoners. In her article, Nyasha points to “a national study (Hayes and Rowan 1988) of 401 suicides in U.S. prisons —one of the largest studies of its kind—two out of every three people who committed suicide were being held in a control unit.”

Momentum is building against this loophole for torture right here on US soil.  It’s time to demand an end to the mistreatment of prisoners and the hell that isolation puts people through.

One Response

  1. It’s encouraging that more attention to this issue is being paid. I know first hand how hard it can be when your in Adseg! It is torture plain and simple.

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