The Hole—A look into the prisons within the prisons Essay

By July 18, 2017 Human Rights

In the United States today at least 80. 000 captives are being held in some kind of isolation unit. normally called lone parturiency. Prisoners in lone are isolated in a 6X8 pes concrete room for 23 hours a twenty-four hours. This is how the United States authorities chooses to modulate the prisons. by locking captives in this cell for hebdomads. months or even old ages on terminal. Most captives are allowed 1 hr a twenty-four hours for “recreation” where they are allowed to travel outside. entirely. in a fenced country about the size of their cell. It is a dirty. cold. concrete room with merely a metal slot in the door that they receive repasts through. The room contains a bed. shower. and lavatory. every bit good as a really little sum of personal points. They receive no educational categories. rehabilitative plans or other transitional services to assist them fix for their return to society. even when they are traveling to be released shortly.

They have perfectly no construction to their twenty-four hours. Since I was a kid I have ever been interested in the Criminal Justice System. I have long hoped to go a prosecuting officer and have ever been funny about prisons and felons. My original wonder with lone parturiency specifically came from a Law and Order episode I saw. The chief investigator asked to be put in lone parturiency for a weekend to turn out that the criminal’s defence was bogus ( the felon was claiming he pushed the investigator off the roof because of the psychological agony he endured in lone parturiency ) . Throughout the episode I watched. as the detective easy started hallucinating and got really dying and angry. I assumed that the show was overstating for amusement value nevertheless I wanted to happen out whether that was true.

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Throughout my research procedure I have found that the symptoms the detective displayed are the same symptoms that 1000s of existent captives have. Through out my quest to larn more about the pattern of Solitary parturiency. my sentiment has changed dramatically. At the beginning of this undertaking I thought of this subject the same manner I think about about everything else. really black and white. I had small sympathy for captives. even those held in lone parturiency. I didn’t think of it as anguish and didn’t understand what the job was. Throughout my research my sentiment has started going grayer. making an internal tenseness for me between two conflicting positions.

I have a strong held belief that prisons provide justness and safety. I hope to go a prosecuting officer to put to death jurisprudence and order. However. I have become conflicted throughout this assignment because I have found that this manner of penalty has been clearly shown to be immoral and cold. For my “site visit” I visited the Valhalla county gaol. I was struck by the figure of married womans. parents. adolescents and immature kids who were at that place to see loved 1s. I listened in on defence lawyer KL’s conversations with two of his clients and was shocked to happen that I truly did experience that one of them was being charged excessively harshly.

I am of class non supporting what the captives did. and many of them merit to be locked up. but the thought these people are treated so inhumanly. I feel shames our state and what it stands for. America. which purportedly stands for freedom. justness and the chase of felicity. locks up 1000s and 1000s of work forces. adult females. and adolescents sometimes every bit immature as 14. in a coop. How could America. the land of freedom and chance. take portion in such an dismaying pattern? Most of us wouldn’t handle our Canis familiariss the manner the prisons treat the felons. particularly those in lone parturiency.

Lone Confinement was foremost used in the Auburn province prison during a biennial experiment in 1821. during which scientists observed people in utmost isolation. They housed a group of captives in single cells “without any labour or other equal commissariats for physical exercising. ” Alexis de Tocqueville and Gustave de Beaumont reported. “This test. from which a happy consequence had been anticipated. was fatal to the greater portion of the inmates: in order to reform them. they had been submitted to finish isolation ; but this absolute purdah. if nil interrupt it. is beyond the strength of adult male ; it destroys the felon without intermission and without commiseration ; it does non reform. it kills. The unfortunates. upon whom this experiment was made. fell into a province of depression. so manifest. that their keepers were struck with it ; their lives seemed in danger. if they remained longer in this state of affairs. ” This experiment was done about two hundred old ages ago and although the consequences were awful. solitary is still used today.

It is sometimes necessary nevertheless. Harmonizing to solitarywatch. com. Lone parturiency is used for three chief grounds: protection. penalty and rehabilitation. Through out my research I have found really small informations to propose lone parturiency is the least bit rehabilitative. so I have come to the decision that it is truly merely used for penalty and as a protective step. Certain inmates such as former constabulary officers and kid molesters are more likely to be attacked by other inmates while in prison and are hence put there for their ain protection. Lone parturiency is besides used as a manner to modulate the prisons. When a captive gets into a battle with another inmate or violates a prison regulation. they are put in lone parturiency. or what the guards call. “the bing” . as penalty.

It is called “the bing” because many of the captives start traveling loony when placed in lone parturiency. Some common side affects are: hallucinations. hypersensitivity to resound and touch. insomnia. paranoia. feelings of fury and fright. deformations of clip and perceptual experience. depression. anxiousness. PTSD and an increased hazard of self-destruction. When these side affects occur. the captives frequently start shouting and go really incoherent and frenzied.

In 2009. Robert Foor. an Illinois inmate with mental unwellness. was placed in isolation and “became more mentally ill. mangling himself by cutting and seize with teething. and [ attempted ] to hang himself. ” He finally died in lone parturiency at Tamms Correctional Center. Another Tamms inmate whose mental wellness had been notably worsening. faced increasing isolation and longer sentences. due to incidents of throwing fecal matters and piss at guards. One survey even found that the people held in lone developed were more likely to go sociopaths than those in the general population ( 28 % vs. 15 % ) .

“The isolation unit at Stateville Correctional Center in Joliet. Illinois has been described as consisting of “gray walls. a solid steel door. no window. no clock. and a visible radiation that was kept on 24 hours a twenty-four hours. ” Populating in those sorts of conditions. it’s difficult to conceive of person non traveling brainsick. Another comparing I made to my ain life was that I realized that when I spend even 5 hours in my room entirely. I become dying and sometimes down. My room is clean. non made of concrete and has a bed. visible radiation. desk. laptop and phone. Although I choose to maintain my door closed I could come out at any clip I want. I merely take non to. If I become dying and depressed after merely several hours entirely in a little room. with conditions much nicer so the lone cells. so I can’t even begin to conceive of how the captives in lone feel.

Furthermore. I have found that lone parturiency is non merely harmful for the captives. but for our society as a whole. It is damaging for our society for two chief grounds. The first is that it is much harder for captives who spend a drawn-out period in lone parturiency to reintegrate into society. Many of the captives suffer from PTSD and other mental conditions because they have really limited human contact for months or even old ages. This makes it unsafe for them to so be released into the general population. particularly when they have really small counsel before being released or after. Many captives are released straight into society from lone parturiency.

Research done by the human rights ticker. demo that captives in lone have a much higher rate of re-incarceration because of their choler and depression. With small instruction. categories or skill preparation. it is hard for them to go productive members of society. They are unable to acquire occupations because of their limited accomplishments and because of their apprehension record. Peoples are judgmental ; really few people want former felons working for them. I have found that many people don’t recognize that people make errors and travel to imprison merely to endure. likely more so than the suffer they one time caused. Prisoners are beaten. raped. and stray. doing terrible physical and psychological harm.

Another disadvantage for the society as whole is that lodging captives in lone parturiency cost about three times every bit much as it does to house a captive in the general prison population. Harmonizing to a intelligence article published by the Daily News. it costs American taxpayers $ 75. 000 per inmate in lone parturiency per twelvemonth as opposed to $ 25. 000 dollars per inmate in the general population per twelvemonth. It besides came to my attending that lone parturiency has long been called a “human rights violation” . America is go againsting the Geneva Convention by seting people in lone parturiency. The psychological injury that the captives undergo in solitary is considered anguish.

Sister Marion Defeis who worked as a Chaplain for 23 old ages at Rikers Island wrote. “When I would do visits. walking cell by cell. I was overwhelmed by the lassitude and depression of the inmates. That’s non how our system is supposed to work. We have prohibitions against cruel and unusual penalty. ” While this is true. no alternate to lone has so far been put to action. I conducted a phone interview with Marion Defeis who was explicating her work at Rikers every bit good as her current work at a non-profit organisation in Brooklyn for individual female parents antecedently incarcerated.

The alternate she proposed was that when there is an affray in the prison the captive should be separated to a different country and should have psychological aid to seek to better their mental province. alternatively of locking them up which will finally decline the state of affairs. She besides felt that the penalties that the prisons use do non ever suit the offense committed. The chart below shows how many isolation sentences at that place were because of different misdemeanors.

During an interview with Mr. L he explained that a batch of times when there is an affray it is the victim of the maltreatment that is put in lone parturiency. Although it is for their ain protection. he feels that it is unfair for the victim to hold a worse punishment when it was the wrongdoers that committed the misdemeanor. A batch of times bush leagues are besides put at that place to protect them from the grownup captives which he felt was unjust that they should acquire a worse punishment merely because they were younger and hence more vulnerable. These two cases both dramatically changed my positions on lone parturiency and made me more sympathetic to what the captives held in lone go through. Although Mr. Lawrence did experience lone parturiency is overused. he did clearly happen it necessary in some state of affairss. This was surprising because as a defence lawyer I expected him to be really against it.

Another indispensable minute throughout my research procedure was during my conversation with former prosecuting officer Mrs. Levine. She truly merely dealt with lone as a protective step. when there was a informant that was traveling to be put in gaol with the individual they were attesting against. they would necessitate to be separated to see they would non be injured or killed in gaol. She explained that when she was traveling through the preparation to go a prosecuting officer she had to see a lone cell. She told me that she would truly hold to experience that she was in serious danger to be willing to be put in those sorts of atrocious conditions. One research worker who took portion in a study conducted by the New York Civil autonomies brotherhood stated. “It doesn’t take half a encephalon to recognize we’re non traveling to acquire a good merchandise out of this. ” This was a really powerful quotation mark for me that landmarked a displacement in my thought.

When a individual research worker can so clearly see the affects of lone parturiency after merely one survey. how can the remainder of the state non see the damaging affects after all the research collected? Not merely are 1000s of people held in lone parturiency. but so many different sorts of people are put in lone as good. Prisoners every bit immature as 14 old ages old to every bit old as 70. work forces and adult females. Whites. inkinesss and Hispanics every bit good as a batch of times. the mentally sick. Harmonizing to the American Friends service commission. “An independent probe from 2006 reported that every bit many as 64 per centum of captives in SHUs were mentally ill. a much higher per centum than is reported by provinces for their general prison populations. ”

Frequently. mentally sick captives who are placed in the general prison population commit offenses and are put in solitary. which merely exacerbates the job. Once their penalty is over they are put back into the general prison population but at that point they have even more terrible mental jobs and one time once more stop up in lone. Furthermore. it has been reported that a disproportional figure of black people are in gaol or in lone compared to the NYS population. This is represented in the chart below. For the community service part of this undertaking I volunteered at the Children’s Village in Dobbs Ferry NY with boys ages 8-12. many of whom have parents presently detained.

I spoke with several staff members who explained that captivity is an ageless rhythm. The staff works difficult to interrupt this rhythm by assisting to learn the male childs necessary accomplishments to win in life. It was flooring to me to recognize that gaol and lone parturiency would of all time associate so straight to my life. When I found out that many of the parents of these kids who I have been tutoring for the last three old ages are in gaol. I thought otherwise of the kids. I became more sympathetic and apprehension of what they have lived through and realized that they weren’t merely out of control childs who didn’t feel like larning their generation tabular array. Their parents were populating in coops.

That’s why they were so angry and down and refused to larn. It besides discovered that merely 10 proceedingss off from my house was a maximum-security prison called the Bedford Correctional Facility. Not merely are their 100s of adult females housed at that place. but about 25 of them are held in lone parturiency. Their kids come to see them with their Foster parents and have to snog their female parents through glass. My battle throughout this assignment has been keep backing judgement about the subject. If I were non required to maintain an unfastened head. this would hold been a really different procedure. There is still much to be learned about the pattern of lone parturiency.

I have now recognized how harmful lone parturiency is to the captives. state and society as a whole. nevertheless it is difficult to set an terminal to lone parturiency without coming up with an alternate solution. This undertaking has besides made me inquire why they call prisons “correctional facilities” . I have found no grounds to demo that these “facilities” aid “correct” anything. Sister Marion Defeis’s option is surely a possibility. nevertheless it would necessitate a batch of clip. attempt and surely money that I am non certain society would be willing to pay for people who have been found to hold committed such hideous discourtesies.


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