Solitary Confinement

Solitary Confinement

Physical mental and emotional torture. That’s what solitary confinement amounts to. Is this just my opinion from my own personal experience? No – this is scientifically proven. What I’m about to share is scientific testimony out of case law, which you can find on any legal website, under WILLIAMS VS. SECRETARY PENNSYLVANIA DEPT OF CORRECTIONS 848 F.3d 549 2017 U.S. App.LEXIS 2327.

“The Scientific Consensus”
The robust body of scientific research on the effects of solitary confinement, combined with the Supreme Court’s analysis in Wilkinson and ours in Shoats, further informs our inquiry into Plaintiffs’ claim that they had a liberty interest in avoiding the extreme conditions of solitary confinement on death row. This research contextualizes and confirms the holdings in Wilkinson and Shoats: It is now clear that the deprivations of protracted solitary confinement so exceeds the typical deprivations of imprisonment as to be the kind of”atypical, significant deprivation . . . which [can] create a liberty interest.

A comprehensive meta-analysis of the existing literature on solitary confinement within and beyond the criminal justice setting found that the empirical record compels an unmistakable conclusion: This experience is psychologically painful, can be traumatic and harmful, and puts many of those who have been subject to it at great risk of long term damage. Specifically, based on an examination of a representative sample of sensory deprivation studies, the researchers found that virtually everyone exposed to such conditions is affected in some way. They further explained that there is not a single study of solitary confinement wherein non-voluntary confinement that lasted for longer than 10 days failed to result in negative psychological effects. And as another researcher elaborated, All [individuals subjected to solitary confinement] will [. . .] experience a degree of stupor, difficulties with thinking and concentration, obsessional thinking, agitation, irritability and difficulty tolerating external stimuli. Anxiety and panic are common side effects. Depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, psychosis, hallucinations, paranoia, claustrophobia, and suicidal ideations are also frequent results. Additional studies include in the aforementioned meta-analysis further “underscored the importance of social contact for the creation and maintenance of self.” In other words, in absence of interaction with others, an individual’s very identity is at risk of disintegration.

 
Yes, the studies and case law speak volumes about the psychological torture that we are undergoing. I suffer with all of those symptoms. And I’ve often wondered why, not realizing it’s this cage that is causing them. Where is the evolving standard of decency that this country continues to speak about in the Courts, Congress, and Senate? You’re driving men insane! And then murdering them under this false concept of ‘equal justice.’ When everyone knows that a rich man will never enter one of America’s death chambers. Equality is a pipedream, a facade that America puts on for the world. We’ve seen it far too many times, innocent men and women have slipped through the cracks of America’s judicial system, and suffered irreversible harm, in these cages of doom. That’s all this is, a cage of doom! Warehoused for death. There’s no sugarcoating this hellish experience! 
 
So when you wonder why I’m anxious, agitated, compulsive, depressed etc., etc. Well read the report again and again. And then imagine what I go through every single day. For not only do I struggle with this cage, but the fact that my co-defendant/childhood friend the triggerman, is on the street returned to his life, as I sit here, now second guessing myself on not accepting the plea bargain that was offered to me, which would have set me free in 2015. Yes .. should have, would have, could have! The fact still remains, that this cage, this treatment is inhumane and unbecoming of THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA! For this inhumane treatment is perpetrated in the name of God, justice, and the American way.
 
Just wanted to share and give you some insight into an experience that I pray you will never experience. God bless.
 
In peace and love, Ronnie


 

Ronald W. Clark Jr #812974
U.C.I. P-Dorm 
PO Box 1000
Raiford, Florida 32083

Houston Chronicle Quotes AI About Heat in Texas Prisons

Help is on the way for vulnerable Texas prison inmates suffering through summer heat

Updated 7:00 pm, Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Relief may be in sight for hundreds of heat-sensitive inmates at the Pack Unit northwest of Houston.

State officials on Thursday are set to roll out their plan for providing cool living quarters for medically vulnerable inmates at the geriatric facility after a federal judge found the swampy indoor conditions amounted to “cruel and unusual punishment.”

While U.S. District Judge Keith Ellison has not ordered the state to install air conditioning, his emergency injunction on July 19 called for cooled beds for 475 inmates who take medication or have diabetes, high blood pressure and other conditions that make it hard for their bodies to fight the heat.

The ruling marked a turning point in the federal civil rights lawsuit, which has drawn national attention to the rights of people who lack the authority to adjust the thermostat and the freedom to leave the premises.

Witnesses testified that inmates and guards alike had fainted from indoor temperatures that sometimes surpass 100 degrees. One inmate testified about heat-induced vomiting and another recalled a headache that felt like an ice pick to the brain.

Ellison ruled that officials at the Texas Department of Criminal Justice obstructed remedies and showed “deliberate indifference” to inmate suffering. He gave them until Aug. 8 to implement the plan, a draft of which is expected to be submitted to the court Thursday.

About 80 percent of Texas prison inmates are assigned to living units without air conditioning, even during heat waves, according to Jason Clark, a spokesman for TDCJ.

Since 1977, county jails across Texas have required that indoor temperature be kept between 65 and 85 degrees. All but seven of the 122 federal facilities run by the Bureau of Prisons offer air conditioning, an official said. Even the federal detention center at Guantanamo Bay, which drew attention for the treatment of high-profile international prisoners, has cooling units.

TDCJ has not yet responded to a request by the Houston Chronicle for the total number of heat-sensitive inmates in state custody. However, prisoners’ rights advocates estimate that thousands of people are under official “heat protection” designation at Texas facilities that lack air conditioning.
Jennifer Erschabek, executive director of Texas Inmate Families Association, said she hopes state officials will consider the fate of its most vulnerable charges when implementing changes at the Pack Unit.

“I can easily say there are thousands of people in the system who are on heart medication, diabetes medication, or have HIV, Hepatitis C or psychotropic medications that make them heat sensitive in these dire conditions,” said Erschabek, whose group conducts an informal heat survey each year among inmates families.

“People need to be housed in a place where it’s not a life and death situation for them in the summer,” she said.

Erschabek said her organization has had small victories in addressing inmate grievances related to heat waves. Her group reached out to wardens at six TDCJ units where guards were reportedly unresponsive to inmates afflicted by extreme heat or failed to provide sufficient water, ice or cold showers. In every instance, she said, the wardens and regional directors took action.

Melissa Brown, who runs a group called Adopt an Inmate, said she hopes TDCJ will extend heat protection fixes at the Pack Unit to all inmates.

“The whole ‘heat-restricted’ thing is absurd because inside the cells it can be over 120 degrees, with 90 percent humidity,” she said. “There is no inmate that isn’t medically compromised in those conditions.”

Brown said prison transfer units, such as Holliday, Gurney, Garza East and Garza West, have metal roofs and no windows, so on hot days the floor fans just blow hot air around. She has heard reports of inmates smashing windows at another unit to get air flow during the hot months.

The 2014 lawsuit filed in Houston was brought by six inmates at the Pack Unit after summer heat waves in 2011 and 2012 caused multiple inmates across the state to die from heat stroke. Since 1998, 23 inmates have died of hyperthermia, or heat stroke, in Texas prisons.

Ellison noted in his recent ruling that heat deaths — in the free world or otherwise — are commonly under reported, since other medical problems contribute.

The Pack lawsuit is among 10 lawsuits filed in Ellison’s court by attorneys from Edwards Law in Austin and the Texas Civil Rights Project. Eight families of inmates who died of heatstroke have brought wrongful death suits and another inmate who survived a heat stroke has also sued TDCJ.
In the Pack case, Ellison ruled that the inmates were likely to win at trial because the conditions they’ve endured violate the Eighth Amendment’s prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment.

In addition to the remedies for heat-sensitive inmates, Ellison ordered the prison to improve access to respite areas, develop a heat-wave policy and other measures.

State officials have said they plan to appeal the ruling to the Fifth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. In the meantime, they must comply with the judge’s injunction. Ellison’s order remains in effect for 90 days, carrying through the hottest months.

Local prison rights advocates say the prison heat problem should be treated as a humanitarian concern.

“It’s a human rights issue because these people do not have an option to go somewhere or do anything to enable them to cool off,” Erschabek said. “They wet the concrete to lay down on cool concrete and put a fan on themselves but it’s just biding time until the weather cools down. It’s just horrendous.”

Following the spate of heat deaths in 2011 and 2012, the Human Rights Clinic at University of Texas Law School spent two years interviewing TDCJ inmates about the heat.

Professor Ariel Dulitsky, a human rights lawyer who runs the clinic, said researchers concluded the state’s treatment amounts to cruelty and torture, in violation of a United Nations Convention.

“All these people are under the absolute control of Texas, of the state, and everything that happens to them is viewed through the actions or omissions of the state,” he said. “At the end of the day, many of these situations amount to torture.”

He said it is a matter his students brought to the attention of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights in October 2014, but TDCJ officials declined an invitation to respond to the law students’ allegations.

Dulitsky said the students concluded that Texas had violated international law.

“Due to the amount of suffering inflicted on many inmates, Texas is implicated in torturing inmates,” he said. “If Texas does not remedy the situation it will implicate the U.S., not just Texas.”

‘To Sleep, Perchance to Dream’ by Philip Brasfield

If you want a good night’s sleep in Texas, don’t look for it in prison. Finding respite from the constant noise and bright lights in cell blocks and dormitories is increasingly difficult in general population. In special housing areas (Administrative Segregation), it may be impossible.

Despite conservative, tough-on-crime mythology perpetuating the misconception that prisons are like gated country clubs, life behind bars is synonymous to a fenced and caged dystopia.

Nearly one-third of every day in prison is spent being counted. Ideally, all counts are supposed to clear in an hour.

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