September 29, 2008
Another sad account of modern prison conditions
I just received via e-mail a heads-up about a new book titled "Dying Inside: The HIV/AIDS Ward at Limestone Prison." This webpage provides information about the book, including this summary description:
Dying Inside brings the reader face-to-face with the nightmarish conditions inside Limestone Prison's Dorm 16 — the segregated HIV ward. Here, patients chained to beds share their space with insects and vermin in the filthy, drafty rooms, and contagious diseases spread like wildfire through a population with untreated — or poorly managed at best — HIV.
While Dorm 16 is a particularly horrific human rights tragedy, it is also a symptom of a disease afflicting the entire U.S. prison system. In recent decades, prison populations have exploded as Americans made mass incarceration the solution to crime, drugs, and other social problems even as privatization of prison services, especially health care, resulted in an overcrowded, underfunded system in which the most marginalized members of our society slowly wither from what the author calls "lethal abandonment."
This eye-opening account of one prison's failed health-care standards is a wake-up call, asking us to examine how we treat our forgotten citizens and compelling us to rethink the American prison system in this increasingly punitive age.
September 29, 2008 at 12:02 PM | Permalink
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I would like to add to this important book by commenting on how widespread the issue is and how the legal profession has dropped the ball in not protecting the victims. Conditions are not much better at the Cook County Dept. of Corrections and Illinois Dept. of Corrections. I am a multiply handicapped individual and whistle blower concerning government corruption. Illinois political patronage breeds corruption like garbage breeds flies.
I have been repeatedly jailed and inprisoned on phony charges in retaliation for my whistle blower activities. As a physicain and mental health provider (license now lost and made destitute due to these unlawful arrests and malicious prosecutions) I am particularly able to describe in detail the medical neglect and torture perpetrated on prisoners for profit of these bloodsucking prison medical service providers and patronage political appointees to prison and jail positions.
It is very unpleasant for example to be punished for refusing to walk (when one is unable to walk due to a disability) and then forced to lay naked other than in a segregation smock for days in my diarrhea because I was too weak to get up to the toilet and too dehydrated because I could not get up to the sink in the cell. All the time the prison officials and guards who stating I was malingering and faking my medical disorders.
Ordering a prisoner who is allergic to food to eat the regular diet without modification and then ordering it to be pureed to “solve your allergy problem” is like ordering someone who is allergic to peanuts to eat peanut butter. I was left with the choice of refusing the food and starving for six months or playing Russian roulette with the food every day, not knowing if I would have a bad reaction and die form lack of medical care. I chose to starve and went from 170+ lbs to 127 lbs and dehydrated in six months.
Prison conditions in the US are worse than Abu Ghraib - unethical, illegal, unconstitutional,torturous, and providing no rehabilitative assistance whatsoever. They are warehouses for the mentally ill, drug-addicted, HIV infected, hepatitis C infected, and political prisoners who are innocent. They are “good” jobs for the ignorant, the unemployed rural population, and those that are bullies, sociopaths, and psychopaths, and like to inflict pain and torture on others. It is a place you can put people to die inhumanely out of sight and out of mind.
I just wish I could find attorneys, pro bono, who would take on the cause in the form of class action litigation.
Posted by: Dr. Linda Shelton | Sep 29, 2008 6:24:28 PM
I don't know anything about the truthfulness of this book but I can say that Carla Crowder, who is listed as a co-author, is a biased journalist who cannot be objective when it comes to law and order issues. When she worked with the Birmingham News her articles had a decided anti-prosecution slant. After attending law school, she has worked for anti-death penalty activist groups such as the Equal Justice Initiative. In other words, I'm sure that this book presents a one-sided account.
Posted by: justice seeker | Sep 30, 2008 9:32:08 AM
To be "anti-death penalty" in one's perspective is not an indicator of an "anti-prosecution slant" by any means.
Many prominent and respectable individuals and organizations have opposed the manner in which the death penalty has been and continues to be used in this country. The issues are well defined: defendants' unequal access to qualified counsel; inadequate evaluation of available evidence, e.g resistance of prosecutors to DNA testing when such testing cleartly has potential relevance to guilt or innocence; and the ever-increasing numbers of cases in which death-row inmates are being exonerated. Were attorneys who represented innocent persons held on death row for decades and who saved them from unjust imprisonment and death "anti-prosecution?" I think not.
Is a journalist biased when she writes stories about the death penalty? Carla Crowder wrote stories that covered both sides of the issue, as described in the Death Penalty Information Center's news release concerning the prestigious Thurgood Marshall Journalism Awards, one of which Crowder won several years ago: "The Award for Excellence in Print Journalism will be awarded to Carla Crowder, a reporter with The Birmingham News. Crowder will receive the
honor for her achievements in giving voice to both sides of the deathpenalty debate in Alabama." "both sides," justice seeker; Do YOU look at both sides? The link to this information contains additional and compelling information concerning death penalty casea and issues in this country:
Posted by: bighoss | Jan 31, 2009 6:59:49 PM