SENATORS GET TO EXPERIENCE SOLITARY CONFINEMENT LIVING CONDITIONS ON CAPITOL HILL
Capitol Hill saw the first ever congressional hearing on solitary confinement Tuesday. To illustrate living conditions within the Secure Housing Units common to many federal and state prisons, a Senate Judiciary committee had a cell replica erected inside the hearing room.
NPR’s Carrie Johnson has the story. Here’s a clip:
At any given moment, about 15,000 men and women are living in solitary confinement in the federal prison system, housed in tiny cells not much larger than a king-sized bed.
“It is hard to describe in words what such a small space begins to look like, feel like and smell like when someone is required to live virtually their entire life in it,” says Craig Haney, a psychologist at the University of California, Santa Cruz.
But Tuesday, Haney, who has studied life inside prisons for three decades, had an opportunity to paint that picture. Haney and other advocates had gathered in Washington to testify about solitary confinement to members of the Senate Judiciary subcommittee on civil and human-rights issues. Committee members say they want to explore the costs of long-term isolation in U.S. prisons.
To help illustrate living conditions in solitary, committee members asked the architect’s office in the U.S. Capitol to set up a replica of a cell — a tall white box with no windows — right inside the hearing room.
The replica provided the backdrop for what lawmakers called the first-ever congressional hearing on solitary confinement.
All Things Considered also explains how other states are getting rid of Supermax facilities and reducing the number of inmates in solitary. Check it out here.
A LETTER FROM DEATH ROW INMATE
Gawker’s Hamilton Nolan sent letters to death row inmates with upcoming execution dates. Brett Hartmann, an inmate scheduled to be executed Nov. 13th, wrote back and shared his thoughts on life on death row–from food and health care to criminal justice and the death penalty. Here’s a clip:
People change, after 15 years you are no longer executing the same person that committed the crime. A fair sentence for murder? Personally I believe if you have not done at least some time in prison and experienced the hell that prison is you should not get to say what is an appropriate sentence for anything. We claim we are a nation of second chances yet we hate giving them! I would say 20-30 years, let a person have a chance to make up for their mistakes no matter how horrible, but I would put on also that if while in prison the person shows by his conduct in prison that he has not changed then you would go to a civil commitment to keep them in to protect society.
I would be against the DP in all cases, a respect for life is a respect in all aspects. Look at Manson, one of the most hated men next to Hitler, he has been locked away, he shows no remorse and might pose a threat if released so the Parole Board keeps him locked away. I believe execution just is not the answer, as humans we are prone to mistakes and execution is a mistake you cannot undo.
EL MONTE SCHIZOPHRENIC MAN DEAD AFTER FIGHT WITH POLICE
A schizophrenic man died after an altercation with police in which officers used a baton, taser, and choke hold to subdue him. Twitter users are saying that the incident may be the next Kelly Thomas-like case, but the details of the confrontation are still a bit hazy. The Los Angeles Sheriff’s Dept. has taken over the investigation.
ABC’s Robert Holguin has the story. Here are some clips:
Denise Le says her brother got into an argument with her father last Thursday night, so she called police. But she says the argument was over by the time police arrived.
“I thought police came just to talk to Quah,” Denise Le said. “I really regret calling 911 for help. It turned out to be (the) murder of my brother.
The Le family says the two El Monte police officers who responded to the call began to attack Khoa Ahn Le. By the time officers got him to the driveway in handcuffs, his family says he was unconscious. He was transported to a local hospital, where he later died.
The sheriff’s department says Le fought with the officers and resisted arrest. “Mr. Le continued fighting and one officer struck Mr. Le one time in the torso area with a flashlight. But Mr. Le continued to fight,” said sheriff’s Lt. Holly Francisco in a statement. “Another officer struck him three times with a baton in the torso, ankle and knee.”