CMUs/Prison Conditions

  • CIA documents expose the failed torture methods used on Guantanamo’s most famous detainee

    Source: Alternet. This was a summary of CIA documents obtained by AlterNet’s Grayzone Project. The records were originally obtained by Zubaydah’s defense team through the discovery proces. The vast majority of the documents have not been available to the public prior to this story. Among the most shocking revelations in the files is the fact that the CIA engaged in torture even before it received legal authorization from the Bush administration’s infamous “Torture Memos,” which were signed on Aug. 1, 2002.

  • Justice in America: One in five Black prisoners is serving life sentence

    Source: Newsweek. A record number of people are serving a form of life sentence in United States prisons, including one out of every five African-American prisoners. According to a new report from the Sentencing Project, a Washington, D.C.-based group that seeks to reform the U.S. criminal justice system, one out of every seven prisoners in the U.S. is serving a life sentence, whether it’s life with parole, life without parole or a “virtual life sentence,” defined as a sentence of 50 years or more. They make up roughly 13.9 percent of the nation’s prison population. More than 17,000 people are serving life sentences for nonviolent crimes, and 30 percent of them are for nonviolent drug offenses, according to the report. Nearly 12,000 prisoners are serving life sentences for crimes committed as teenagers.

  • The Terre Haute experiment

    Source: Indianapolis Monthly. A black box inside one of the nation’s most notorious federal penitentiaries, Terre Haute’s D-Unit is entering a second decade—and third presidential administration. It’s home to some of the nation’s most high-profile and controversially confined inmates of the War on Terror. A majority of them are Muslim. With the specter of Islamophobia hanging over the nation, human rights activists who have fought the Kafkaesque study in isolation now wonder: Are things about to get a whole lot worse?

  • With final detainee transfer, Obama’s Guantanamo policy takes its last breath

    CMUs/Prison Conditions December 28, 2016 at 0 comments

    Source: The Washington Post. The Obama administration has informed Congress of its plans to resettle as many as 19 detainees held at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, in a final sprint to pare down the inmate population at the military prison, U.S. officials said. Even if the transfers occur before Jan. 20 as planned, about 40 inmates will remain at the facility.

  • Who’s in solitary confinement?

    CMUs/Prison Conditions November 30, 2016 at 0 comments

    Source: The Marshall Project. The Arthur Liman Public Interest Program at Yale first collected data from state and federal corrections officials in 2014 and again, in more detail, last year, taking what amounts to a comprehensive census on the use of solitary confinement in the U.S. Researchers found that in the fall of 2015, at least 67,442 U.S. prisoners were kept in some kind of restricted housing. (That includes prisoners held in “double-cell solitary,” where they are locked down with another inmate.) Demographic data from the new survey shows that on average, prisoners of color were slightly overrepresented in solitary confinement when compared with the overall prison population. But in some states, this disparity is particularly stark. In California state prisons, Hispanic men make up 42 percent of male prisoners, but 86 percent of male prisoners in restricted housing.

  • The torture mindset of the United States

    Source: Truthout. The use of torture in and by the US is not a post-9/11 phenomenon. The CIA’s long history of involvement in torture, and the ongoing investigation into Chicago police torture at Homan Square say otherwise. The purpose has never been discipline or interrogation, but control. In Angola in 2008, Herman Wallace wrote: “The government tries out its torture techniques on prisoners in the US — just far enough to see how society will react. It doesn’t take long before they unleash their techniques on society as a whole.” The experiments on CIA prisoners can be viewed in the same vein.June 26 this year, as it has been every year since 1998, is “UN International Day in Support of Victims of Torture.” With respect to the US and torture, there has really only been one major change in post-9/11 landscape: US domestic torture practices have been globalized and franchised.

  • The classified home movies of Guantanamo Bay

    Source: The Gawker. This week the public records clearinghouse Government Attic published a newly declassified, 102-page list of the DMA’s vast, secret media library. It contains roughly 30 pages of descriptions of videos, still images, and audio recordings taken at the terrorist prison facility at Guantanamo Bay, constituting hundreds of recordings that the public has never before seen, and, so long as they remain classified for reasons of national security, likely never will see. Among them appear to be recordings of detainee interrogations that military officials have previously claimed were never filmed.

  • The CIA waterboarded the wrong man 83 times in 1 month

    Source: The Nation. None of the allegations against Abu Zubaydeh turned out to be true. That didn’t stop the CIA from torturing him for years. He had the dubious luck to be the subject of a number of CIA “firsts”: the first post–9/11 prisoner to be waterboarded; the first to be experimented on by psychologists working as CIA contractors; one of the first of the Agency’s “ghost prisoners”.  And as far as we know, he is still in solitary detention in Guantánamo.

  • Illinois seeks to limit use of solitary confinement

    Source: Associated Press. Illinois lawmakers are pushing prisons to restrict the use of solitary confinement, joining a national movement that has policymakers rethinking the longstanding form of punishment that critics say has a profound psychological impact on inmates.Legislation sponsored by Democratic Rep. La Shawn Ford, of Chicago, would limit solitary confinement to no more than five consecutive days and five total days during a 150-day period. That would be a dramatic change from the current rules, which allow prisons to isolate inmates for weeks or years at a time.

  • Hunger striker whose weight dropped to 74 lbs released from Guantánamo to Saudi Arabia

    Source: Center for Constitutional Rights. Today, the Department of Defense announced the transfer to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia of Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) clients Tariq Ba Odah, a longtime hunger-striking Guantánamo prisoner, and Mohammed Al-Hamiri, along with seven other prisoners. Both Mr. Ba Odah and Mr. Al-Hamiri were cleared for release more than five years ago. Mr. Ba Odah had been on hunger strike since 2007 – over nine years – to protest his indefinite detention and conditions of confinement at Guantánamo. Over the last year of his imprisonment, his weight hovered at just 74 pounds, 56 percent of his ideal body weight.