America's prison boom says more about hate than crime
Take the management control units (also called 'supermax' prisons) that are fast becoming the new model for incarceration. According to the American Friends Service Committee-sponsored Campaign to Abolish Control Unit Prisons while the conditions of these units varies from prison to prison, the goal of these units is to cause the spiritual, psychological, and physical breakdown of prisoners. Oppressive conditions include:
The ramifications of this new kind of prison culture will be profound. As Jerome Miller, former commissioner of the Massachusetts Department of Youth Services and the only American public official of this century to close down the reform schools of an entire state and disperse their residents to community programs, told The Humanist (Jan./Feb. 1994, updated and reprinted in the Sept./Oct. 1995 Utne Reader) 'it will go on until it changes the very nature of our society. And when we reach a point where we have 5 million to 7 million people in our prisons and jails, we will be a very different society. As the eminent criminologist Nils Christie comments, the United States will have become a 'gulag society.' '
Original to Utne Reader Online