60 Minutes - "Supermax: A Clean Version of Hell"

Last night, Sunday, October 14, 60 Minutes ran a piece on the ADX Federal Prison in Florence, Colorado. This is the supermax to beat all supermaxes. It has been called the "most secure prison facility in the country" and it holds some of the more famous prisoners our country has, though I won't bother with the list here. There are a myriad of problems with it, not the least of which being that people don't want to work there as it is a quarter understaffed, which of course leads one to wonder about the claim of "most secure".

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.


Ground-breaking report released!

The American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) of Arizona has recently published a first-of-its-kind report, "Buried Alive: Solitary Confinement in Arizona's Prisons and Jails" detailing the use and conditions of solitary confinement in various correctional facilities in Arizona. This report is the result of over a year of research and much of the content is due to the trust and involvement of many Arizona prisoners currently being held in conditions of solitary confinement.

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.