Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Hard Hard Time: Supermax

I did on one occasion watch Bill Maher mention the "greatest country on earth" and in his inimitable way asked the question, Who says so, the eighty five percent of arrogant dipshit Americans who don't even own a fucking passport?

I could, but I won't, make a list of all that ails America, American society and most importantly the American psyche.

The same psyche that starts at the very top with the endless "Kick arse because we can" attitude and works it's way down through a para-military police force that is totally out of control to a prison system and it's employees that should be the shame of any society that aspires to wear the label of "Civilised."

I shall not enter into a diatribe for it has all been said before, you only have to search the labels "Prison Nation" and "Police," I will just leave you with a short sentence that I came across, part of which I used as a previous title.

The prison authorities, more often than not, are persons of limited intellectual capacity and of authoritarian attitudes whose primary penological goal is to maintain order.

And if anybody wants to try and convince me that America deserves the tag of greatest nation I would be glad to listen to your argument.

Torture in Our Own Backyards: The Fight Against Supermax Prisons

Imagine living in an 8-by-12 prison cell, in solitary confinement, for eight years straight. Your entire world consists of a dank, cinder block room with a narrow *window* only three inches high, opening up to an outdoor cement cage, cynically dubbed, "the yard." If you're lucky, you spend one hour five days a week in that outdoor cage, where you gaze up through a wire mesh roof and hope for a glimpse of the sun. If you talk back to the guards or act out in any way, you might only venture outside one precious hour per week.

You go eight years without shaking a hand or experiencing any physical human contact. The prison guards bark orders and touch you only while wearing leather gloves, and then it's only to put you in full cuffs and shackles before escorting you to the cold showers, where they watch your every move.

You cannot make phone calls to your friends or family and must "earn" two visits per month, which inevitably take place through a Plexiglass wall. You are kept in full shackles the entire time you visit with your wife and children, and have to strain to hear their voices through speakers that record your every word. With no religious or educational programs to break up the time or elevate your thoughts, it's a daily struggle to keep your mind from unravelling. more

*window* If indeed the cell even has a window. there are Supermax facilities where the secure housing units (SHU) are sixty feet underground and like all such places the cell lights shine twenty four seven.

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