Tough on Crime

One of the reasons that this system of Administrative Segregation, as authority figures like to phrase it so kindly, can often be deemed acceptable is because of the way politicians and others in authority see these structures as an investment. If an elected official supports the building of a supermax then appear to be a leader who cracks down on crime. Similarly, those in the corrections community see supermaxes as a popular practice, and a means to making a living. Not only is this the wrong approach to the criminal justice system Yet, I believe that the most shocking factor is that not until the supermax is built do these officials decide which criminals they are going to send there.

Many detainees have no legitimate reason for being housed there, and sadly countless have mental illnesses that are only intensified by long periods of time in solitary confinement and less than substantial medical care. This is an issue that Kupers examines a great deal in his articles which shed light on the psychiatric approach to looking at supermax prisons. Those housed in supermaxes receive treatment that can be classified as torture if they have a mental illness and are kept in the conditions of extreme lock down.

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One Response

  1. I agree that there are many issues to be debated in regards to supermax prison facilities. My focus does not lie on the fact that they exist, but instead their purpose and the process to determine who will be sent there. In Kupers article, family interaction is discussed and something that I think should be integrated into the supermax facilities. I think that the torture of causing mental illness and breakdowns you mentioned could be prevented if people were allowed at least to have easier access to their families and friends. How are they to maintain sanity if they have no ability to communicate with the only people left in the world who will care for and support them should they be released? While the goal of supermax prisons is solitary confinement and extreme punishment, no one will re-enter another prison or society unless they feel some worth beyond themselves.

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