Mercury Rising 鳯女

Politics, life, and other things that matter

Inside info

Posted by Charles II on February 15, 2009

Via Atrios, this story from Scott Horton:

Army Private Brandon Neely served as a prison guard at Guantánamo in the first years the facility was in operation. With the Bush Administration, and thus the threat of retaliation against him, now gone, Neely decided to step forward and tell his story. “The stuff I did and the stuff I saw was just wrong,” he told the Associated Press. Neely describes the arrival of detainees in full sensory-deprivation garb, he details their sexual abuse by medical personnel, torture by other medical personnel, brutal beatings out of frustration, fear, and retribution, the first hunger strike and its causes, torturous shackling, positional torture, interference with religious practices and beliefs, verbal abuse, restriction of recreation, the behavior of mentally ill detainees, an isolation regime that was put in place for child-detainees, and his conversations with prisoners David Hicks and Rhuhel Ahmed. It makes for fascinating reading.

What’s interesting in this story is not only the fact that we’ve been systematically lied to, but the fact that what went on at Guantanamo increasingly resembles our civilian prison system. If what went on in Guantanamo was torture, and it clearly was, then what goes on every day in our stateside prisons is also.

I don’t have a good solution. Incarceration is the only solution for many lawbreakers, and incarceration is difficult to manage under the best circumstances. But under international law, the US prison system may well be illegal.

5 Responses to “Inside info”

  1. Kathy said

    Back in the 90’s a women friend of mine was studying prison operation. She told me that prisons run by women with women guards were usually much less violent than those run by men. One example she gave was that when women guards observed men congregating in a “suspicious” manner, their response was to stroll over the the group, stand closely, listen & observe. Usually the group broke up rapidly.

    However, I cannot find *any* info on women-run prisons on Google.

  2. There may be good reasons for incarcerating violent criminals but a large percentage of prisoners in this country are not and have never been violent criminals. The US prison industry is a monstrosity.

  3. We incarcerate a higher proportion of our people than does any other nation outside of China and some of the world’s rankest dictatorships. Yet to question this is to be accused of being ‘soft on crime’.

  4. Correction. China is well behind us on proportion of population behind bars. It’s even worse than that. Not even China has the same number of people incarcerated, despite their vastly larger population.

  5. Charles II said

    A lot of the people behind bars in this country are mentally ill. A feature of the United States is that violence levels are much higher than in other countries. People who are both violent and mentally ill are incredibly difficult to deal with. So, the US prison picture is complicated both by the number of nonviolent offenders behind bars and by the people who are criminally insane and probably not possible to handle outside of the prison system.

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