Showing posts from October, 2020

An Investigation into Solitary Confinement and Mental Illness

Pennsylvania, with its long history of solitary confinement, is at the center of a new conflict. Once again, the limits of human endurance are the crucial issue. The Nation reports on a Justice Department investigation into the damaging effects of long-term isolation on inmates suffering from mental illness: "The investigation into SCI Cresson could have important implications beyond Pennsylvania. In addition to determining whether it “provided inadequate mental health care to prisoners who have mental illness [and] failed to adequately protect such prisoners from harm,” according to the DOJ’s official release , investigators will also consider the practice of subjecting mentally ill prisoners to “excessively prolonged periods of isolation, in violation of the Eighth Amendment,” with its ban on cruel and unusual punishment. Even if the particular abuse leveled at McClellan is found to be an aberration, holding mentally unstable prisoners in solitary confinement is a common practi

Inmates rioted in Mississippi's Adams County Correctional Center

Inmates rioted in Mississippi's Adams County Correctional Center, a prison operated by the for-profit Corrections Corporation of America. The Huffington Post reports on the uprising "Sunday's riot is not the first time CCA prisons have seen violence. The high level of violence at a CCA-run prison in Idaho has prompted federal lawsuits, public scrutiny and increased state oversight. In 2010, Vermont inmates being held at a CCA prison in Tennessee were subdued with chemical grenades after refusing to return to their cells." CCA's management of prisons is also the subject of Mark Dow's recent letter to the editor of the Leavenworth Times. "Democracy and prison privatization," Dow writes, "are natural enemies."