Very recently a young woman on Court TV was convicted of killing her husband, sentenced to life in prison and sent immediately to a supermax prison.
A person capable of committing a heinous crime reveals a fragile and fragmented personality. Most people don’t realize that to merely think “I want to kill that person” is to share the very same impulse as a physical killer, and they take for granted that only strength of personality blocks acting on such an impulse.
To send a fragmented personality to a supermax prison constitutes cruel and unusual punishment because not only are virtually all external stimulation removed from the prisoner, but all access to a healthy interior life as well.
It should surprise no one that prisoners resort to throwing urine and feces through their door slots because they spend 23 hours a day in solitude with nothing to help rebuild or strengthen their minds and emotions.
Supermax prisons are like veal factories to newborn calves except that people are unable to physically move, unable to see the sky or the sun because they are surrounded by artificial lights enforced 24 hours a day (this is known to alter and damage the endocrine system), and have no access to plants or animals. One news article revealed how, after several years, inmates rejoiced upon seeing a spider — a living creature.
The United States is not enlightened or civilized. To treat any human being like a calf preparing for slaughter is a shame and blight to our national conscience (if we have one). For the public to say, with great hypocrisy, “That person deserves it” when the public itself revels in books and movies of torture, dismemberment and murder shows a split in awareness that is virtually psychotic.
Locate the prison or supermax nearest to you. Ask about the conditions there. Find out if the inmates are even allowed a Bible or a Quran, or any book. Ask the percentage of inmates who are categorized as insane, and then ask what you can do to ameliorate the Bastille-like conditions of our most marginalized citizens.