27 Mar 2014
Control Unit Prisons
Built to house the “worst of the worst” control units and control unit prisons have exploded throughout the system as a means to house, monitor, and control the most violent, rebellious, and unmanageable of prisoners within the system. Or do they? The article “From Alcatraz to Marion to Florence: Control Unit Prisons in the U.S.” paints a striking picture that reveals many of the inhumane practices used in these prisons, which are more often than not used on individuals who are far from the “worst” and also illustrates the bending, reclassification, and creation ...view middle of the document...
Similarly journalist Terry Anderson who spent seven years as a Hezbollah hostage in Lebanon, often in isolation for long stretches, remembers that at the time he couldn’t control his emotions and even began having hallucinations. He couldn’t read or concentrate, as he wrote in his memoir “the mind is a blank. Jesus, I always thought I was smart. Where are all the things I learned, the books I read, the poems I memorized? There’s nothing there, just a formless, gray-black misery. My mind’s gone dead. God, help me” (Hellhole). And prisoners are not the only ones affected by the conditions in these facilities. Sgt. Garry Harkins, a retired correctional officer at Oregon’s State Penitentiary stated that like the inmates he would go days “months without seeing sunlight” going in just before the sun comes up and coming out at nighttime. Harkin says that “he couldn’t get away from the job” (Working the Isolation Unit) and would relive or dream about something that happened at work. After a while working in the segregation unit he began to feel “trapped” just like the inmates he was guarding (Working the Isolation Unit).
The article makes it clear that of the three major claims made by officials about the functions or purpose served by these facilities...