Thursday, November 13, 2014
Professor Deborah Weissman of the University of North Carolina School of Law announced that she and her students enrolled in the Immigration/Human Rights Clinic recently issued a comprehensive report on solitary confinement as torture.
One of the many heart-wrenching details of the report is a section on prisoner narratives. As one Illinois incacerated man reported:
"The C-MAX was said to have been designed to house the IDOC’s ‘worst of the
worst’ in an effort to help state authorities re-gain control of their prison system.
This couldn’t be further from the truth because most of us have been sent here
based merely on the fact that we have mental illnesses or in retaliation for filing
lawsuits, grievances, or past disciplinary histories...This facility functions more as
a mental institution than a prison of rehabilitation and it serves no penalogical
purpose other than to warehouse prisoners. As the duration of our isolation drags
on and the degree of our conditions of confinement deteriorate you begin to see
the psychological effect that this place has on us. We know that we will spend all
day in these cells with absolutely nothing constructive to do with our time and we
do not know if we will ever leave here. This knowledge overwhelms many of us
and it leads many of us to insanity, causing attempted suicide, suicide, body
mutilation, hanging, eating and throwing feces, and other extreme acts."
This report is particularly timely as this week the U.S. is reviewed in Geneva regarding its compliance with the Convention Against Torture.
The full report may be read here.