Bruce Franklin's article, "The American Prison and the Normalization of Torture," shows how the American prison system developed into a central institution of U.S. society, one that has made torture routine and acceptable. The physical, mental, and sexual abuse glimpsed at Abu Ghraib is part of the daily experience for two million people caged in American prisons, while most of the rest of the American public acquiesces or denies the reality of this torture.
Each year, numerous prisoners are maimed, crippled, and even killed by guards. Photographs could be taken on any day in the American prison system that would match the photographs from Abu Ghraib that shocked the public. Indeed, actual pictures from prisons in America have shown worse atrocities than those pictures from the American prisons in Iraq. For example, no photos of American abuse of Iraqi prisoners have yet equaled the pictures of dozens of prisoners savagely and mercilessly tortured by guards and state troopers in the aftermath of the 1971 Attica rebellion. Even more appalling images are available in the documentary film Maximum Security University about California's state Corcoran Prison. For years at Corcoran, guards set up fights among prisoners, bet on the outcome, and then often shot the men for fighting, seriously wounding at least 43 and killing eight just in the period 1989-1994. The film features official footage of five separate incidents in which guards, with no legal justification, shoot down and kill unarmed prisoners.
Eight prison guards were acquitted of charges they subjected prisoners to cruel and unusual punishment by arranging gladiator-style fights among inmates, and setting up the rape of an inmate by a notoriously violent inmate known as the "Booty Bandit" at Corcoran State Prison in California.
But prison guards have been convicted of organizing assaults on inmates in a federal prison in Florence, Colorado, and at Pelican Bay State Prison in California. The Department of Justice concluded that conditions at prisons in Newport, Arkansas are unconstitutional. And New Jersey prison guards reportedly brutalized over 600 prisoners.
An explosive class action filed in federal court (2015) details reports of serial rape and sexual abuse by eight corrections officers at the all-female Rose M. Singer Center in the New York City jail complex, including a case where an inmate was dragged into a janitor's closet and another where the inmate became pregnant.
One of the plaintiffs, identified in the complaint as only Jane Doe 2, reported the rapes to a mental health clinician and later to a doctor with the City Department of Investigation, the suit says, but was told nothing could be done.
"This abuse is only possible because, in the face of repeated warnings, the City of New York has enabled a culture of complacency to perpetuate at Rikers Island and thereby consented to the abuse of women in its custody," the suit says.
The Justice Department concluded in a blistering report in 2015 that female inmates at one Alabama prison live in a toxic environment marked by sex abuse and harassment by corrections staff.
The Department's Civil Rights Division said the Alabama Department of Corrections has repeatedly violated the women's constitutional rights at the Julia Tutwiler Prison.
The state was urged to take immediate remedial steps, but there was no indication the federal government was prepared to take any formal legal action.
"Our investigation has revealed serious systemic operational deficiencies at Tutwiler that have exposed women prisoners to harm and serious risk of harm from staff-on-prisoner sexual abuse and sexual harassment," said Acting Assistant Attorney General Jocelyn Samuels.
"These problems have been festering for years, and are well known to Alabama prison officials. Remedying these deficiencies is critical to ensuring constitutionally protected treatment of women prisoners at Tutwiler and will promote public safety," she said.
In a letter to Gov. Robert Bentley, federal officials said the inmates "universally fear for their safety" and "live in a sexualized environment with repeated and open sexual behavior."
Should We Trust Police Officers?
Are police officers allowed to lie to you? Yes the Supreme Court has ruled that police officers can lie to the American people. Police officers are trained at lying, twisting words and being manipulative. Police officers and other law enforcement agents are very skilled at getting information from people. So don’t try to “out smart” a police officer and don’t try being a “smooth talker” because you will lose! If you can keep your mouth shut, you just might come out ahead more than you expected. Related article: 46,000+ American citizens are currently serving time for crimes that they did not commit
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US Prison / Jail System is Cruel and Unusual Punishment
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From the original article: Tracy Siska, a criminologist and civil-rights activist with the Chicago Justice Project, said that Homan Square, as well as the unrelated case of ex-Guantánamo interrogator and retired Chicago detective Richard Zuley, showed the lines blurring between domestic law enforcement and overseas military operations.
“The real danger in allowing practices like Guantánamo or Abu Ghraib is the fact that they always creep into other aspects,” Siska said.
“They creep into domestic law enforcement, either with weaponry like with the militarization of police, or interrogation practices. That’s how we ended up with black sites showing up all around the country.”
The 2015 World Justice project Rule of Law index was published in June 2015, ranking 102 countries based on a host of indicators, including criminal justice. The criminal justice factor measures impartiality, due process and rights of the accused, and effectiveness of the countries’ criminal investigation, adjudication and correction systems. The United States ranked 23rd out of 102 countries, 16th among 24 regional peers, and 23 among 31 income peers.
In the annual Council of Europe Annual Penal Statistics data for 47 member countries, the council’s 2013 report shows that the median European prison population rate was 133.5 inmates per 100,000 people. In the United States, the rate was 478 per 100,000 — three and half times the European rate. The United States also far exceeded Canada (188 per 100,000), Australia (130 per 100,000), New Zealand (192 per 100,000) and Japan (51 per 100,000).
A network of social service programs is non-existent in the United States. That means the United States relies more on jails and prisons for people who otherwise would have been diverted to non-institutionalized care (i.e., people with mental health or substance abuse issues, the homeless, the youth).
“The underdevelopment of government institutions [penal, policing, welfare or social] has meant that the default, reflex response to crime is simply to lock people up,” said David Garland, a New York University law and sociology professor whose research focuses on comparative punishment practices.
The crime rate has been decreasing steadily in recent years but the incarceration rate has not dropped at the same rate.
According to the Human Rights Watch, people of color are no more likely to use or sell illegal drugs than whites, but they have higher rate of arrests. African Americans comprise 14 percent of regular drug users but are 37 percent of those arrested for drug offenses. From 1980 to 2007 about one in three of the 25.4 million adults arrested for drugs was African American.
The U.S. Sentencing Commission stated that in the federal system black offenders receive sentences that are 10 percent longer than white offenders for the same crimes. The Sentencing Project reports that African Americans are 21 percent more likely to receive mandatory-minimum sentences than white defendants and are 20 percent more like to be sentenced to prison.
Ironically, the United States is filled with people on the left and right who are quick to stand up for First and Second Amendments of the Constitutional Bill of Rights. But when it comes to the Eighth Amendment of not facing cruel and unusual treatment as a result of criminal prosecution, most go silent. If this matters to you, help get the word out and wake people up to the institutionalized prison-rape system that has become disgustingly prevalent in the United States of America.
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Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies tried to thwart an FBI investigation into county jails.
The unanimous decision by the three-judge panel from the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals clears the way for the former deputies, among them rank-and-file officers and mid-level commanders, to be sent to prison on lengthy sentences.
The ruling also deals a significant blow to Paul Tanaka, who ran much of the agency’s day-to-day operations as undersheriff and was convicted this year on the same set of charges. Tanaka, who was sentenced to five years in prison, vowed to appeal the jury’s decision on grounds similar to those raised by the deputies.
Read more: http://ktla.com/2016/06/27/paul-tanaka-former-l-a-county-undersheriff-to-be-sentenced-for-role-in-obstructing-fbi-probe/
11 ways the US Prison / Jail System is Cruel and Unusual Punishment
By Christopher R Rice, Underground America Inc.
When the photos from Abu Ghraib came out, U.S. President George Bush said, "This does not represent the America I know." But people around the world know that the torture and degradation carried out under U.S. command at Abu Ghraib is standard procedure for the U.S. And these atrocities are also painfully familiar to many people who live inside the U.S. itself.
Compiled here are brief descriptions of a few examples of torture carried out directly by the U.S. government and by your local police, jails and prisons.
Everyone has seen the videos of how the police in America, treat us, right? Those videos were all taken in public. Imagine how they treat us behind those walls, where they control the cameras. Where they control everything.
Lack of medical care
Rape by prison guards
Sexual abuse by prison guard
Physical abuse by prison guards
Verbal abuse by prison guards
The wardens at California's two major women's prisons have retired amid allegations of pervasive problems, including sexual abuse of inmates at one institution and persistent suicides at the other.
The complaints come amid wide problems for the corrections department.
A series of lawsuits forced the state to lower its inmate population and cede control of prisoner healthcare to a federal receiver, while the California inspector general found a culture of racism and abuse at a men's prison.
Aside from sexual abuse, guards at the Central California Women's Facility in Chowchilla, the state's largest women's prison, permit fights between inmates, use unneeded force and derogatory names and retaliate against inmates who complain, said Don Specter, director of the nonprofit Prison Law Office, which investigates inmate mistreatment.
Specter pushed for leadership changes after attorneys found systemic problems at the Chowchilla women’s prison, which he called “a very troubled place.”
“There are serious problems there, including verbal abuse of prisoners, failure to protect them from other prisoners, contraband, sexual abuse — mostly in the form of: `If you do me a favor, I'll do you a favor' — that kind of thing,” he said. “There's a lot of fear, and fear of retaliation for reporting misconduct.”
Meanwhile, state Sen. Connie Leyva (D-Chino) wants the state auditor to look into suicides at the California Institution for Women.
She is asking for an audit next week to see why the suicide rate was eight times the national average for female prisoners in an 18-month period in 2014-15.
Read more: http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-wardens-20160804-snap-story.html