The following 60 Minutes piece, "Supermax: A Clean Version of Hell" leaves very little to the imagination about the terrible mental and psychological effects that such isolation has on a person. The question it does not begin to address, is why is it justifiable to cause such mental harm to a person when long-term solitary confinement is NOT the only way to remove even the "worst of the worst" from communities where they may do harm. Please have a look at the 13 minute story. (You may need to launch it in Microsoft Internet Explorer to watch the video.) Also, on the right column there are numerous other "Resources" that are very interesting and current on the topic of solitary confinement in prisons.
As a kick-off event for this report and the beginning of the StopMax Arizona Campaign, the AFSC held a Networking Forum in May 2007. Nearly 75 people were in attendance for the Forum to hear keynote speaker, Dr. Terry Kupers speak about the devastating effects of solitary confinement on one's mental health. Dr. Kupers had this to say about "Buried Alive",
…The report is stunning! You get into great detail, you are balanced yet passionate, and your remedies are reasonable and timely.
Control units. Supermax prison. SMU. Protective segregation. Permanent lockdown. Administrative segregation. Long term solitary confinement. = TORTURE.
The United Nations and most of the rest of the world call long term solitary confinement TORTURE. So do the people who are held prisoner in these horrible conditions.
We couldn’t agree more. We are going to do something about it, too.
We at the American Friends Service Committee are collecting TESTIMONIES and DOCUMENTATION from people who are currently held in long term solitary confinement, from their family members, and from ex-prisoners who spent time in solitary confinement.
We need your help. We need to hear the voices of people who know first hand the effects and conditions of long term solitary confinement – so that we can shut them down!
The American Friends Service Committee-Arizona Area Program is researching the torturous conditions of control units in Arizona. We believe that this form of imprisonment must be eradicated and ended once and for all, and we need your help. We are looking for testimony of prisoners and ex-prisoners who can expose the harsh realities of life in control units.
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