Housing, Living Conditions .. Page 19
*STRIP CELLS*

..All accommodations provided for the use of prisoners and in particular all sleeping accommodations shall meet all
requirements of health... The sanitary installations shall be adequate to enable every prisoner to comply with the
needs of nature when necessary and in a clean and decent manner. Adequate bathing and shower installations shall
be provided so that every prisoner may be enabled and required to have a bath or shower ... at least once a week. ...
Prisoners shall be required to keep their persons clean, and to this end, they shall be provided with water and with
such toilet facilities as are necessary for health and cleanliness... [MINRULE, Part 1: items 10, 12, 13 and 15]

Jim B. - Limon, Colorado, 3/30/98
..I have worked in LCI..s [Limon Correctional Institute] segregation building as [a] porter since August 1987
and have observed the following:
.. Ten to twelve prisoners cuffed and shackled for 24 hours per day in ... strip cells. (These are ... segregation cells
[in] which they turn the water off and cover the toilet with plastic and tape.) They keep the door open, video[tape] all
that occurs and have a guard on duty to watch 24 hours a day. Many of the guards are female. They continue this
until the prisoner has at least five bowel movements...

Housing, Living Conditions .. Page 20


Rose S. - Starke, Florida, writing for Florida prisoners, 4/27/99
..Two young black prisoners were transferred here and put into strip cells. (In strip cells the prisoner is in
the nude and there is no bedding. There is only the concrete floor.) One was beaten and maced twice a day for
several days. Guards came from other wings as if they were participating in an old fashioned lynching...


Bill S.K. - Program for Aggressive Mentally Ill Offenders (PAMIO),Texas, 1/16/98
After having showered I was ... placed in a ..strip cell.. (which is just a ... cell with the toilet water turned off)
without a stitch of clothing nor a ..security.. or ..suicide.. blanket. This was early March and it [was] quite cold. ... I
was left like that for four days. ... I could not sleep and could only stay above hypothermia by sitting upright on the
toilet ... with my legs crossed ... to keep them off the concrete floor. I saved my paper sacks ... my sandwiches came
in so I could put them on my feet ... attempting to warm myself up a bit...

Sylvester M. - Clallam Bay Correction Center, Clallam Bay, Washington, 11/28/99
..I presently have a lawsuit [against] this prison system for placing me in a strip cell absent all physical
clothing, bedding materials, hygiene materials and heat, exposed to extreme cold temperatures for six of ten days and
denied water for the first three days......


*RANDOM SEARCHES*


Q.F. & J.B. - East Jersey State Prison, New Jersey - written as representatives of 4Dn Wing of the prison, 12/30/98
..Complaint on Random Urine Analysis Procedure: .....[Prisoners] are ... forced to totally strip all clothes
and place both their hands behind their backs and the officer takes the urine bottle and places it around the head of
the penis. This procedure is humiliating and not ... in the standards...

* ISOLATION UNITS *
******************

..The term ..control unit.. was first coined at the federal penitentiary at Marion, Illinois in 1972 and has come
to designate a prison or part of a prison that operates under a ..super maximum security.. regime. Control unit prisons
may differ from each other in some details but all share certain defining features:
..1. Prisoners in a control unit are kept in solitary confinement in tiny cells (six by eight feet is usual) for

Isolation Units .. Page 21
between twenty two and twenty three hours a day. There is no congregate dining, no congregate exercise, no
work opportunities and no congregate religious services. Access to any facilities or social services is
severely limited.
..2. These conditions exist permanently (as opposed to the temporary lockdowns that occur at almost every
prison) and as official policy.
..3. The conditions in control units are officially justified not as punishment for prisoners but as
administrative measures that are within the discretion of prison officials to impose without a hearing taking
place. Since there are no rules governing such decisions (in contrast to formal punishments), prisoners are
denied any due process and prison officials can incarcerate any prisoner in a control unit for as long as they
choose, without having to justify their action... [Torture in the United States, report prepared by the
Coalition Against Torture and Racial Discrimination, and compiled by Morton Sklar, World Organization
Against Torture USA, October 1998; hereinafter referred to as USTORTURE]

In the words of one prisoner, ..Indeed, these control units are a low intensity form of warfare where the
battleground is the mind; [they] must be shut down. ... Prisoners should have a ..liberty interest.. (right) in not being
placed in [a control unit] for an unlimited amount of time simply because this confinement is labeled by prison
officials [as] ..non-punitive segregation...1
In January of 1997, 42 states, the District of Columbia and the federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) were
known to operate at least one control unit prison in their respective jurisdictions. As to the number of prisoners
housed in these units, estimates vary anywhere upwards of five percent of the total prison population. That would
make the total well over 100,000 at the present time. It is about these prisoners and the conditions under which they
must live that this paper has been prepared.
- Editor
******************

1
John H., Northern State Prison, Newark, New Jersey, 7/5/99

Isolation Units .. Page 22

Isolation Units .. Page 23
* ISOLATION UNITS *

*******

..31. Corporal punishment, punishment by placing in a dark cell, and all cruel, inhuman or degrading
punishments shall be completely prohibited as punishment for disciplinary offenses... [MINRULE]

********
********
..[The prisoner] was transferred to Ohio State Prison after being put in the hole for 16 days at a
minimum/medium security prison. No one told him why he was put in segregation. He had no violence on his record.
He was transferred ... with no conduct report, no notice, no conference and he did not know why he was at OSP. In a
letter to his family he spoke of ..no hope here.. and ..no love. [His] family would like to keep the matter [of his suicide
(in April of 2000)] quiet. ...This was the third suicide at the OSP since the prison opened in May, 1998, the first
having occurred in February 1999 and the second in July.
..A prisoner writes that ..from the day [he] arrived here, [in January], everyone in the block knew he had
problems ... He was depressed ..big time.. about being here. And if everyone in the block (prisoners) could see it, I
know damn well administration could. Whenever the chaplain or mental health, mainly anyone, would walk by his
door, he would try to keep them there to talk ... as long as possible.
....One time he asked me, I know we..re only allowed two phone calls a month, but do you think the guards
will let me call my wife real quick just to tell her I love her? I told him, I don..t think you understand where you..re at.
This is super max. We..re considered the worst of the worst here. The guards don..t care if you talk to your family or
not. ...Administration knew he shouldn..t have been here and also that [the prisoner] was highly depressed. I mean I
could see it, so I know mental health could also....
....[He] was deep into religion, and had a good family by his side. He had shown me pictures of his kids and
wife that he was very proud of. He also spoke highly of his mother...
Another prisoner wrote of the dead prisoner, ....... [he] unfortunately committed suicide. ... When block
officers observed [the prisoner] inside his cell, .... hanging in an unconscious state, their response was very slow and
nonchalant... [T]en whole minutes elapsed before the medical team appeared ... and when they did .... [the] lieutenant
demanded that [they] leave the unit! For the obvious reason that the lieutenant wanted to enter the cell with the
extraction team. ... [O]ther officials ... present at the time ...did not intervene. Five more minutes elapsed, Fifteen all
together, may I remind you. Finally [when] the medical emergency response team was able to begin their
resuscitation process, their attempts were fruitless.
....Some of these men don..t have the mental facilities to cope and deal with this stressful, groveling and
dehumanizing environment ... [W]e are labeled the ..worst of the worst,.. ... and we are treated like monsters. ...This
is the valley of death if it exists [anywhere]. ... How many have to die, when all they really need is a little help, just a
little help, maybe a little push, compassion or empathy, to be recognized, respected and treated fairly with dignity...
.... This administration continues to create an environment that drives [prisoners] to suicide. The correctional
officers ... harass the prisoners, intimidate the [prisoners] from coming out of their cells for shower and recreation.
...and there is no meaningful redress to these problems... ..

Isolation Units .. Page 24


Isolation Units .. Page 25

....It..s going to be more death here at this penitentiary if they don..t start giving [prisoner]s outside recreation
and human contact. When you don..t give a human [being] sunlight and a little human contact you make him feel
worthless and inhuman. Plus [when] you strip search him every time you take him [out of] the cell, you have taken
this person..s pride and dignity. Have you ever been inside a place for a long time and then when you went outside,
didn..t it feel good? They took that from us. Also, when you are naked and someone is looking up your butt every
time you come out your cell, it makes you feel like nothing. Just be in front of a few people naked and see how you
feel. ... There..s going to be more deaths here. We feel doomed in here. I just wanted to say those words to you in
case you haven..t heard about the suicide.....
....This place imposes so much stress, depression state, and anxiety on individuals here ... I thank the most
high for giving me the strength to endure .......
From a memo from Alice Lynd of Staughton and Alice Lynd, Attorneys-at-Law, Niles, Ohio, to Bonnie
Kerness, American Friends Service Committee, Criminal Justice Program, Newark, New Jersey, dated
5/1/00.

************

..The restriction of environmental stimulation and [the] social isolation associated with confinement in
solitary are strikingly toxic to mental functioning, producing a stuporous condition associated with perceptual and
cognitive impairment and affective disturbances. In more severe cases, [prisoner]s so confined have developed florid
delirium - a confusional psychosis with intense agitation, fearfulness and disorganization. But even those [prisoner]s
who are psychologically resilient inevitably suffer severe psychological pain as a result of such confinement,
especially when the confinement is prolonged, and especially when the individual experiences this confinement as
being the product of an arbitrary exercise of power and intimidation. Moreover, the harm caused by such
confinement may result in prolonged or permanent psychiatric disability, including impairments which may seriously
reduce the [prisoner..s] capacity to reintegrate into the broader community upon release from prison...
Statement of Stuart Grassian, M.D., Psychiatrist, member of Harvard Medical School faculty.

**********
**********

..In Hewitt v Helms 454 U.S. 460,, 468, 103 S.C. and 864 (1983) the Supreme Court held that the restrictive
conditions of administrative segregation are ..well within the terms of confinement ordinarily contemplated by a
prison sentence.. and it ..it is the sort of confinement that prisoners should reasonably anticipate receiving at some
point of their incarceration.....
Kevin J - Northern Correction Institute, Somers, Connecticut,, 11/24/99, 9/20/00


Isolation Units .. Page 26


Isolation Units .. Page 27
..How do I explain desperation to someone who is not desperate? How do I explain what it..s like knowing that the
guards are waiting for me to self-destruct in here?..
Ollie L. - Management Control Unit, State Prison, Trenton, New Jersey, undated

*********

..Wallens Ridge [Big Stone Gap, Virginia] opened in April 1999, one year after a twin facility called Red
Onion became the state..s first super maximum-security prison. The prisons were needed, Virginia officials say, to
handle the prisoners serving longer sentences after the state abolished parole in 1994. But critics say Virginia
overbuilt, spending millions on prison beds now occupied by [prisoners] imported from as far away as New Mexico.
About half of the nearly 1,000 [prisoners] at Wallens Ridge are from out of state.
..For Big Stone Gap, a town of 4,728 devastated by massive layoffs at the Westmoreland Coal Co., Wallens
Ridge meant badly needed new jobs. To build the prison, local officials sold $78 million in bonds, which are being
paid back with lease payments from the state.
..In the process, critics say, officials have created the kind of dangerous dynamic often seen in rural prisons,
where job-starved people with little experience are given guns, badges and authority over inner-city [prisoners] from
different races and cultures. The result, they warn, can be abuse of power.
....Central Appalachia is poor and white - rural people who for the most part don..t come in contact with
blacks and Hispanics,.. said Sister Beth Davies, a community activist in Appalachia and former principal of a
Catholic high school in Stamford, Connecticut[, the original state from which many of the prisoners at Wallens
Ridge come]. ..The [prisoners] coming in are people of color from urban areas. It..s a setup for failure. It exploits both
populations...
..During the first year of operation, guards fired 80 shots - 68 warning shots and 12 rounds of rubber pellets.
Since the prison opened, guards have used electronic stun gun devices 112 times.
..Virginia does not allow the media to tour any of its prisons, although reporters can talk to [prisoners] in an
interview room.
....We are not going to let the general public in here,.. said Larry Tayler, a spokesman for the Virginia
Department of Corrections. ..We are here to protect the general public...
..But critics say the real motive is to protect Virginia prisons from public scrutiny. ..Oversight and
accountability might be inconvenient for correction officials,.. [Democratic Connecticut State Representative Michael
P.] Lawlor [of East Haven], ..but they have proved to be vital to safe and secure prisons...
..Virginia..s Wallens Ridge Prison Complaints Include Racism, Stun Guns,..
Edward Fitzpatrick, The Hartford Courant, 6/19/00.

********
********
Bernard F. - Wallens Ridge State Prison, Big Stone, Virginia, 7/26/00
Prisoner writes from Wallens Ridge State Prison in Big Stone, Virginia, to which he ..was transferred by
force.. by the Rhode Island Department of Corrections. ..There are problems here that would make society take a

Health; Medical, Legal Services - Page 28
second look if [a few of the ruling class were] in prison. The administration and staff ...are themselves society..s
misfits. I know from the past that no one takes [prisoners..] complaints seriously and [they] believe we get everything
that we deserve. But what I am about to tell you I would like you to tell me I deserve.
..On two occasions prison guards pointed a shot gun at my face [and] threatened to shoot me in the head and
blow my brains out. Since my arrival [at the] Virginia Prison System I have been subjected to [administrative]
segregation for no reason and my life has been continuously put in ...danger. I am in no way trying to find a shoulder
to cry on but only to tell someone what really takes place behind these walls...
..If you were to ask questions about a certain [prisoner] from Connecticut they would run for cover. But on
July 4, 2000, that [prisoner] was murdered at this facility just because he was asking for his medication. ... I have
heard that these officers who murdered the Connecticut [prisoner] are now suspended with pay. Where else but in
Virginia do you get suspended with pay for [conduct] unbecoming an officer? And when Governor Jim Gilmore was
asked about the situation in this institution he made a statement that he supported what prison officials are doing at
the Virginia Wallens Ridge and Red Onion prisons.
..[I have told you of] just a few. If you would like to know much more just let me know. I am sure you will
never hear about these things and when the [prisoners] protest you and the administration make us out as the bad
guys all the time.
..Someday maybe you people of the media [letter was written to the Richmond Times Dispatch in
Richmond, Virginia in July of 2000] will realize that the wall I see every day is just not to keep me in but also to
keep you out.....

***********

Health; Medical, Legal Services - Page 29


Health; Medical, Legal Services - Page 30


..Silent... - Oregon State Prison IMU, Salem, Oregon, personal correspondence, winter 2001
..Disciplinary Segregation [DS] Unit is a unit [to which prisoners] go for a rule violation ... and it could be
from no less than six days to no more than 180 days. Usually it is six months in DS then [IMU]. There are regular
bar cells [one] for two [prisoners]. You get [to keep] almost all your property, visits once a week (one hour behind
glass) and you get to buy [at the] commissary two times a month and you get a 45 minute exercise walk... and
shower. No handcuffs or leash used....
..IMU is an ultra max separate building with four [separate] units and each unit has three separate blocks.
Each unit holds 44 [prisoners in] one man cells. No bars; there are metal doors and walls with thousands of little
holes [a little more than a quarter of an inch in diameter] to see in or out. We are watched - 24 hours a day under
supervision.
..[IMU] has levels 1, 2, 3 and 4, each [is] earned by good behavior and by programming. Each level has its
own commissary, books, radio, property and [visiting] privileges that must be earned. Bad behavior or refusing to
program could result in the loss of a level - or two or three levels - [with the result that a prisoner may] go all the way
back to level 1 and start all over again. Supposedly level 1 is 30 days in good behavior and programming, then level
2 is two months, ... level 3 is two months and level 4 is one month, then we get out. The programs are numerous
packages of various classes: drug and alcohol, anger management, self [improvement] or school classes for GED
[General Equivalency Diploma] or gang prevention. Classes are all in the cells.
..Now they are extending the six month program by saying that the more times we come we get six .. extra
added months - their own made up rule ... They make an extra extended sanction. It is all legally wrong.
..Here we are handcuffed at the back with a leash and escorted by two officers to and from the rec-rooms
and shower, one at a time. The mind games, the power trips and the psychological warfare comes in[to] effect in this
place and any officer has the power to say, you look ugly or talk ugly or stand too proud - and you lose your level
and privileges and go back down and start all over.
..You refuse or argue and they get a team to run in your cell and get you out at all costs - after [which] we
are pepper sprayed. Therefore, if one comes to IMU ... one can stay ... five, six, eight, eleven or twenty years if one
isn..t careful. I [have] seen it all, people have literally gone insane, too much stress or depression or too much
medication or go wild over frustration and get beat up or decide to [commit] suicide. In DS we see the sun, the night,
the fresh air ... Here we are practically underground, no sun, no air, no night...
..I have seen officers lose it or break down, so just imagine [prisoners]. ...No matter what they do to me I
will not allow them to harm my mind.....

*************

Health; Medical, Legal Services - Page 31
The following memo originated in the Nassau County Jail and was written with respect to a prisoner who was a
pretrial detainee.
Inter-Departmental Memo
To: All Building Sergeants and Tour Commanders From: LaRoque Waters, Captain
Date: 14 December 1995 Subject: Administrative Segregation [Prisoner] Bruce B.

Pursuant to Sections 7006.1, 7024 and 7063 of the New York State Commission of Corrections Minimum Standards,
Article 35 New York State Penal Law and Section 137-2 of the Correction Law of New York state and for the safety,
security and good order of the facility, the following restrictions/procedures will be adhered to:
[Prisoner B] will be handcuffed and shackled for all off-floor movement and may be handcuffed and/or shackled for
on-floor time out.
{Prisoner B] will have minimal contact with other [prisoners] and will not be allowed any mass movement with
general population.
[Prisoner B] will receive his recreation period on-floor and will not attend religious services off-floor or attend
regular Law Library periods.
The Building Sergeant will be notified and will escort [prisoner B] for any off-floor movement; drop-off and pick-up
only.
The Building Sergeant is authorized to use OC [pepper spray] in compliance with all orders concerning the use of
force, when and if it becomes necessary to restrain [prisoner B] and or protect life and property.
*******


Health; Medical, Legal Services - Page 32


Health; Medical, Legal Services - Page 33
John M. Doe - Massachusetts, undated
..... I am one of those many prisoners who has been given a long sentence to isolation. In Massachusetts, it..s
called the Department Disciplinary Unit. Here, prisoners can (by law) be sentenced for up to ten years of twenty
three hour a day isolation. The sad part is that even if a person were to remain free of disciplinary reports, the
administration would still keep the person isolated unnecessarily. In my opinion, ten years exceeds any logical time
period to be labeled as punishment. At no point of a prisoner..s DDU sentence is rehabilitation emphasized. Some
people even finish their original prison sentence and are sent to the streets from here. That [just] goes to show the
thinking [of] those who make the decisions for the Massachusetts DOC...

Ed F. - Utah State Prison, Draper, Utah, 6/13/99
..[I am in] this lockup in a cell 23 hours a day on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays and 24 hours a day the
rest of the week. The lights in the cells are turned out at 11:00 p.m. every night unless a [prisoner] cuts himself in
trying to get away from this torture and punishment we are forced into every day...

John H. - Northern State Prison, Newark, New Jersey, 7/5/99
..This extreme isolation [of the control unit] and lack of human contact has caused me severe problems (I
requested to see a psychologist but haven..t seen one yet) including being diagnosed with high blood pressure. I also
experience headaches, stress, sensitivity to loud noises, ringing of the ears, loss of ability to concentrate, think, loss
of memory, anxiety, agitation, paranoia, fear and thoughts of violence from [prisoners] and staff...


Juan C. Pérez - High Desert State Prison, Susanville, California, undated
Prisoner and eighteen other Mexican prisoners were placed on Management Status after having been
extracted from the yard for allegedly refusing to leave when requested to do so. [See PEPPER SPRAY, TEAR GAS,
OTHER CHEMICAL AGENTS AND STUN TECHNOLOGY; prisoners were pepper sprayed as part of the
extraction.] ..[I] and all the Mexican prisoners were assessed ten days of Management Status... and ended up doing
twelve days [in] December, 1999. [We] Mexican prisoners were denied all basic human necessities such as drinking
water, clothing, shelter, sanitation and medical care.
..The running water and toilet was turned off in my cell for these five days. This made matters even worse
because I and my cellmate still had a lot of pepper spray and chemicals on our bodies and [were] unable to wash it
off in the cell. I was in intense discomfort and pain. ... [When another prisoner complained and asked the unit
officers] to turn on the cell water so I could wash off the pepper spray or for a shower and soap, for a blanket and
even a toothbrush and tooth powder the officers just made jokes and laughed...

Randy A. - Pelican Bay Prison, Crescent City, California, 5/10/98
..The infamous Pelican Bay Security Housing Unit ...is a long term torture chamber in itself. The policy here
is complete solitary confinement, sensory deprivation and extreme isolation...


Dave L. - SMU, Boscobel, Wisconsin, 6/18/00

Health; Medical, Legal Services - Page 34
Prisoner is in the Wisconsin super maximum facility at Boscobel, Wisconsin, which he says Governor
Tommy Thompson approved at a cost of $47.9 million to the taxpayers of the state, .....a prison that does not have
the worst [prisoners] as advertised. In fact one [prisoner] is here for writing to his own mother. There [aren..t enough
notorious [prisoners] in this state to fill a classroom, let alone a 509 bed prison.
..This institution keeps us housed in a cell 24 hours a day, tormented by constant boredom. [It] is run like a
concentration camp; its point is to break us slowly ....We are not allowed to see, smell, feel or hear the outside....
Tim Paris, the Security Director, has [instituted] an illegal search and seizure of our outgoing mail [and insists] we
leave all non legal mail open for inspection. Our incoming mail is being lost, held, given out late ...and [even] given
to other [prisoners]. We have limited access to a makeshift law library where we attend hand cuffed and shackled.
We are required to read, write and do research in a bondage state. ...
..We get to go to a bigger cell with nothing in [it] and this is considered our recreation. A [prisoner] can do
more in his cell than [in] the recreation cell. We are forced to observe 24 hours of Catholic mass on our televisions.
There is no chapel or chaplain to help [prisoners] practice any religion outside of [the] Catholic [religion.] ... We see
no Wisconsin news on our televisions, we have no clue what is happening in the state we live in.
..We are not requesting luxury. Just the right to be treated in a humane manner. ... A large majority of
[prisoners] will be getting out; would you like them living next door to you after a life of isolation and deprivation?..

**************
..Throughout the country we see ...former members of the Black Panthers, former members of the Black
Liberation Army, ...Islamic militants, Puerto Rican fighting on behalf of independence, members of the American
Indian Movement, jailhouse lawyers and prison activists. Hardly the ..most predatory.. prisoners, as the government
would have us believe. The history of control [isolation] units is unalterably entwined in the history of those who
have opposed the social programs of this country...
..Control units are clearly punishment and arguably torture. They embody the central threat to human rights
that the Constitution was intended to check: arbitrary state power... The treatment and surveillance that control unit
prisoners endure is worse than inhumane. It is physical and psychological torture. If we dig deeper into the existence
of such practices, the political function they serve is inescapable. Police, the courts and the prison system all serve as
social control mechanisms...
The Uses and Effects of Control Unit Prisons:
..Bonnie Kerness interviews Black Liberation Army POW Sundiata Acoli and BLA PP Jalil Muntaqim,.. 1996

**************

Steve - Ohio State Penitentiary, Youngstown, Ohio, August 1999
..This institution isn..t doing anything constructive with its prisoner population. It builds a foundation of
hostility, anger and hatred from the very first day. Prisoners here are building blocks of resentment cemented with
the mortar of hatred - and these same prisoners will one day be released to society again. How can they be expected
to be a part of it when all they have been taught is dysfunction?
..I pray to God every night that I don..t become hateful, vengeful and unloving. But aren..t we taught that if
we kick a dog, eventually it will turn and bite? And if we treat human beings in this manner, will we make vicious
beasts of them? I am afraid so...

Health; Medical, Legal Services - Page 35

Mike N. - Indiana Department of Corrections Maximum Control Facility, Westville, Indiana, 6/13/00
..I..m 40 years old, I feel I..m fairly [well] educated and trying to keep a grip. The loneliness and solitude
[are] working on me. No physical contact, the depression. I..ve never been depressed in my life. I..m usually in such
good moods it has been known to piss people off; ..What are you so happy about?.. Now I catch myself with tears
running down my face.
..At first I..d get pissed off at myself and call myself a pussy, broken, weak, but now that it..s more frequent I
just let it flow. Six three 220 pound pussy boy crying his eyes out. But afterwards I feel some peace until the hate
comes in. Optimism, anger, hate and despair: I..ll bet I go through each one of these emotions five to ten times a
day...


Ron F. - Federal prison, Tampa, Florida, 9/25/00
..I have spent almost five years in different seg[regation] units in Florida - and the [guards] are routinely
untrained/hostile or abusive to unruly [prisoners], without the slightest clue as to how to diffuse unrest. Anger control
management and isolation training are not part of their job training. Many [prisoners] cannot stand the isolation, lack
of food. sleep deprivation and noise, as well as the fear [of an] unknown future and [they] act out, causing
retaliation and systematic abuse by a system that only deals with numbers not humans....
..Once in the segregation units there is not much ... staff can do to deal with a situation where people are
basically bored, frustrated and lonely. No program, [no] education, [no] good reading materials, [no] adequate food
[is] supplied to calm [prisoners] in county jails...


Adrian H - Security Management Unit (SMU), Gunnison, Utah, 9/27/95, 11/17/95
..Suffice [it] to say that control units are cruel, inhuman places where prisoners are grossly abused and
mistreated; the [following] provides a brief but accurate description of Utah..s [Maximum Facility Intensive
Management Control] Unit [from which the prisoner had just been transferred]:
..[The unit] houses only 12 prisoners and most of them suffer from chronic genuine mental disorders. [It] is
cold, dark, dirty, and noisy. Steel plates on hinges ... cover the cell doors and windows. The guards open and slam
shut these plates throughout the night and we cannot sleep due to the deliberate noise... The guards frequently use
four point strap boards and strip cells. They never clean the unit. [It] is very unsanitary, coated with old food, dirt
and human waste.
..The prison..s SWAT team is often used to harass prisoners. Brutality and excessive force occur a lot. Most
of the prisoners really belong in a mental health unit where they can receive appropriate psychiatric treatment, ... non
existent in the control unit.
Prisoners ... are given one hour of out-of-cell recreation, three times per week. That ... time consists of
going to a small smelly courtyard ... with a concrete floor and no roof. Other than for showers and three hours of
courtyard weekly, we are never let out of our bare cells. Sensory deprivation is a severe problem. After awhile many
of us hear voices. The guards pick up our mail and, if they don..t care for a particular prisoner, his mail simply
disappears. Mail service is sporadic at best.
..Prisoners ... are allowed to shower for 15 minutes on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. We are not

Health; Medical, Legal Services - Page 36
permitted to have any toiletries. Once inside the ..shower.. cell, the guards hand us a bar of soap and a toothbrush
smeared with a little toothpaste. Whenever we leave our cells, even to the shower, they employ full restraints on us,
which means being handcuffed behind the back and guided by a ..dog leash.. attached to the handcuffs. The only
personal property we are allowed is a minimal amount of legal and religious property...

Dan G. - Washington Corrections Center, Shelton, Washington, 9/10/00
..Currently I..ve been in IMU for three and a half years. I..m in IMU for something I didn..t do; [I] was set up
by two unethical staff members. I..ve been infraction free the whole time I..ve been in IMU. And yet, my captors
refuse to release me back to general population. In fact, I..ve been told, in no uncertain terms, that I..ll never be
released from IMU...

************
..I..ve been told several times by correctional personnel that the nation-wide move to expand the use of
isolation units is fostered loosely by the guard unions. These unions are now contributing heavily to the political
campaigns of law and order candidates. Guards reportedly feel that these types of units provide a safe working
environment. I believe that isolation units also provide them with a place in which to engage in unwitnessed torture...
Control Units and the Use of Devices of Torture, speech given by Bonnie Kerness, Ann Arbor, Michigan, 1996

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Dan H. - MCF, Oak Park Heights prison in Stillwater, Minnesota, 8/19/00
.....I am a [prisoner] in an isolation unit called ..Complex-5' segregation (CX-5) at the Minnesota Department
of Corrections facility at Oak Park Heights which is supposed to be a model maximum security facility... It has been
featured on ... the Discovery Channel as being this great humane place [for] prisoners - however, it has a sinister side
to it that is kept from the public......
..For approximately ten years the staff of [CX-5] tortured both physically and psychologically the
[prisoners] under their care. This was done using restraint devices, food, bedding, property, false reports, false street
charges and beatings. When I first arrived here on November 10, 1998, all of [this] was a daily part of existence in
CX-5: the use of ..fear.. upon the [prisoners] out in the population [with] the knowledge that if they didn..t submit to
the degradation of ...doing their time [the warden..s way] they could easily end up in CX-5. The torture unit keeps
many in line...
Because the prisoner had filed too many complaints about the treatment meted out to mentally ill prisoners
in isolation a sergeant in the CX-5 unit ..would pour out my canteen items into the toilet, refuse me food, spit in my
food, etc - eventually he began writing reports claiming I was threatening him. For this I was placed on ..high level
control... This is where you must cuff up while on your knees through the food slot in your door, thus giving the
guards even more [opportunity] to assault and abuse you; they now have [you pictured] to the administration as a
disciplinary/management problem [and they put you in the restraint chair]. They pull the [straps on the] restraint
chair so hard they hurt you and have pulled my shoulders out of [their] sockets. These abuses went on until
September of 1999 [when] I was accused of spitting on the sergeant and then had a spit mask placed over my face in
addition to the straps, chains, helmet, shackles I had to wear whenever I left my cell...
He concludes: ..... due largely in part to the CX-5 staff..s false reports I was given five and a half years in
CX-5 isolation. I have been basically sentenced to insanity and pray I can last three more years as I ... am slowly
losing some of my sanity back here. I pray god helps me to survive what has been done to me... [italics added]

Jean M. - Ms. M. is the mother of a prisoner at the Ohio State Penitentiary, Youngstown, Ohio. She writes from
South Carolina, 10/9/00
..The way they make my son, and all the other [prisoners], go through a visit is nothing less than torture. I
am in a confined, glassed off area, and my son sits in front of me in a completely glassed, sealed and locked area
with full chains on. [He is] chained at the wrists [which] are chained to his waist with a black box, then shackles at
the ankles. He has to sit on a steel stool with no back, and they usually take him into the visiting room as much as an
hour early for our two hour visit. Then, at the end of the visit, he may have to sit there for another hour awaiting
transport. On our last visit, he was tripped by the guard while he was in full chains. When my son ..fell,.. he fell
against the guard and they charged him with assault and injury to an officer.
..It is almost more than I can do to be civil to the guards that I know abuse the system and my son. I have to
remain civil because I know that they hold the power of refusing me a visit with the one person I love most in this
world. What a travesty...

Wally S. - Maximum security prison, Cranston, Rhode Island, 6/00
..[This is] an institution that has transformed itself into a [prison of] control/isolation units as well as a
breeding ground for violations of human rights by prison administrators and officials. ...
..Prisoners in [this] high security center are subjected to ... unjustified use of excessive force; unjustified use
of chemical agents sprayed on them; ... [being administered] psychiatric drugs to ... control their behavior [because]
officers and other [prisoners] throw human feces, urine in their cells - and [being denied] food. ...
..Prison officials attempt to ..break [prisoners] down psychologically;.. push [prisoners] to the state of
nothingness that has [them] cutting their wrists, sticking metal objects in[to their] private parts; and plan and
coordinate attacks and vicious assaults on certain [prisoners] by other [prisoners] while [the] one [attacked] is
handcuffed behind [his] back on recreation. And [prison officials] strip segregation cells down to nothing but a sink,
[a] toilet and [a] bed...

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..The monitoring that the National Campaign to Stop Control Unit Prisons leads us to believe that
approximately ten percent of the U.S. prison population lives in extended enforced isolation...
Control Units and the Use of Devices of Torture, speech given by Bonnie Kerness, Ann Arbor, Michigan, 1996
There are currently over two million people in U.S. prisons.
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