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  1. #1
    shadowraiths's Avatar
    shadowraiths is offline LISK Liaison, Verified Forensic Psychology Specialist, infoSec Architect
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    Lightbulb Barack Obama: Why we must rethink solitary confinement


    In 2010, a 16-year-old named Kalief Browder from the Bronx was accused of stealing a backpack. He was sent to Rikers Island to await trial, where he reportedly endured unspeakable violence at the hands of inmates and guards — and spent nearly two years in solitary confinement.

    In 2013, Kalief was released, having never stood trial. He completed a successful semester at Bronx Community College. But life was a constant struggle to recover from the trauma of being locked up alone for 23 hours a day. One Saturday, he committed suicide at home. He was just 22 years old.


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  2. #2
    shadowraiths's Avatar
    shadowraiths is offline LISK Liaison, Verified Forensic Psychology Specialist, infoSec Architect
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    More links:

    Before the Law: A boy was accused of taking a backpack. The courts took the next three years of his life. (The New Yorker)

    Kalief Browder, Held at Rikers Island for 3 Years Without Trial, Commits Suicide (The New York Times)



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  3. #3
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    Thank you for starting this thread, shadowraiths. I remember when Kalief's story was first publicized -
    truly tragic!

    I hope this thread opens up a thoughtful dialogue on the subject.



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    Why is Obama singling out this one niche of criminal law when the entire 1993 sentencing guidelines need to be re-written? The case he is referring to sounds more like a NY DOC problem, where charges should have been brought against individuals or the DOC as a whole.
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  5. #5
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    shadowraiths is offline LISK Liaison, Verified Forensic Psychology Specialist, infoSec Architect
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    Have to start somewhere. This particular issue is as good as any. Especially since solitary confinement affects so many (the accused, criminals and the mentally ill) in both federal and state prisons.



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  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by shadowraiths View Post
    Have to start somewhere. This particular issue is as good as any. Especially since solitary confinement affects so many (the accused, criminals and the mentally ill) in both federal and state prisons.
    Since only Congress can change or write laws, do you think Obama will get this done, when he has not managed to do anything constructive with Congress for the last seven years? Sometimes I even like an idea I hear him speak about, but he never gets anything done.
    "If you are lucky enough to find a way of life you love, you have to find the courage to live it."
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    Quote Originally Posted by wendybtn View Post
    Since only Congress can change or write laws, do you think Obama will get this done, when he has not managed to do anything constructive with Congress for the last seven years? Sometimes I even like an idea I hear him speak about, but he never gets anything done.
    The right to put prisoners in solitary confinement while in prison isn't written into law. It's done at the discretion of the prison. Since Obama is in charge of the Executive Branch, he can make changes on his own where the federal prison system is concerned.

    ETA: According to the link at the top of this thread, Obama already has issued new guidelines for solitary confinement in federal prisons. Good for him. The FBI will monitor it's application in federal prisons. Hopefully, it will serve as a guideline for state and other prisons.

    http://www.justice.gov/restrictivehousing

    If abuse continues in state prisons, he has other options available.

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    Quote Originally Posted by shadowraiths View Post
    Have to start somewhere. This particular issue is as good as any. Especially since solitary confinement affects so many (the accused, criminals and the mentally ill) in both federal and state prisons.

    NAMI Applauds President's Call to "Rethink" Solitary Confinement


    NAMI's Executive Director Mary Giliberti expressed grave concern about the statistics. "It is well documented in research that long term segregation in prisons has devastating emotional consequences for all individuals," Giliberti stated.

    "For individuals with pre-existing serious mental illness, it is akin to torture, a sure fire way to worsen symptoms and decrease the opportunity of successful reentry into society."
    Why so many people with mental illnesses are in prison is another question, but this is something.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Betty P View Post
    The right to put prisoners in solitary confinement while in prison isn't written into law. It's done at the discretion of the prison. Since Obama is in charge of the Executive Branch, he can make changes on his own where the federal prison system is concerned.

    ETA: According to the link at the top of this thread, Obama already has issued new guidelines for solitary confinement in federal prisons. Good for him. The FBI will monitor it's application in federal prisons. Hopefully, it will serve as a guideline for state and other prisons.

    http://www.justice.gov/restrictivehousing

    If abuse continues in state prisons, he has other options available.
    I just read this about Indiana:

    Indiana to provide treatment to mentally ill prisoners under settlement

    A court settlement reached this week transforms the way Indiana treats prisoners with serious mental illnesses, ending practices that often worsened their symptoms and sometimes led to suicide, according to the American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana.

    Under the agreement, prisoners with serious mental illnesses will receive better access to mental health care and, with few exceptions, will no longer be held in solitary confinement in state correctional facilities.

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    Why was he put in solitary confinement? They don't usually do that unless they need to protect the inmate, because of crimes they are accused of, OR to protect others from them, because of their violent behavior. So why did he spend 2 yr in solitary over a backpack? THere has to be more to this story.
    “Every day that they don’t find something is good for me.“ Billie Dunn


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    Quote Originally Posted by katydid23 View Post
    Why was he put in solitary confinement? They don't usually do that unless they need to protect the inmate, because of crimes they are accused of, OR to protect others from them, because of their violent behavior. So why did he spend 2 yr in solitary over a backpack? THere has to be more to this story.
    There's a lot more. You should read the article.

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    Quote Originally Posted by katydid23 View Post
    Why was he put in solitary confinement? They don't usually do that unless they need to protect the inmate, because of crimes they are accused of, OR to protect others from them, because of their violent behavior. So why did he spend 2 yr in solitary over a backpack? THere has to be more to this story.
    He was in solitary confinement for fighting. Every time he was released from solitary confinement he would be sent back soon after for fighting. FWIW his brother advised him to get himself sent to solitary confinement if he didn't feel safe.

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    Quote Originally Posted by katydid23 View Post
    Why was he put in solitary confinement? They don't usually do that unless they need to protect the inmate, because of crimes they are accused of, OR to protect others from them, because of their violent behavior. So why did he spend 2 yr in solitary over a backpack? THere has to be more to this story.
    There is more to the story than what you've stated. Have you read any of the articles linked here?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Montjoy View Post
    There is more to the story than what you've stated. Have you read any of the articles linked here?
    Yes, I read the first article linked and it said nothing about WHY he was in solitary.
    “Every day that they don’t find something is good for me.“ Billie Dunn

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    How a routine traffic stop turned into six months in solitary confinement

    It came in November 2014. Kevin Bushrod Jr. said he didn’t understand why he was isolated. A cop had pulled him over for driving on a suspended license. He tried to escape. The cop shot him in the left shoulder. Bushrod, a former top athlete at a Bible college, was charged with assault on an officer while armed — the car was the weapon. And now, he was here. Facing years in prison. Alone in a cell with little beyond a steel toilet and sink.

    Bushrod, whose medical records show that he suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder, depression and anxiety, said he waited until evening so he could be sure that guards wouldn’t check on him. He said he wept, pulling the sheet off his bed. He said he folded it into a noose. He said he tied one end to the top of a bunk bed and slowly lowered himself.
    Snip

    Bushrod had just tumbled into administrative segregation, where inmates have spent years. Between 2012 and 2014, more than 170 inmates at the Department of Corrections were placed into administrative segregation, records show, spending an average of nearly 19 weeks. Others did considerably longer stints. One inmate did 1,231 days. Another spent 804 days. One more spent 510 days.
    Snip

    Bushrod said the process was pretty simple. Every few weeks, he said, one female employee would come by his cell. “She used to give me a form to sign every month [saying] that they had a board hearing and this was the decision they made,” he said. “I would just sign it and get her out of my face. There were no hearings.”
    ...
    Another problem, underscored by Obama’s call for greater transparency, is institutional opacity. Some facilities don’t keep records or disclose how often they isolate prisoners.

    “Lack of data and transparency is the baseline problem for systems across the country,” said Amy Fettig, senior staff counsel of the National Prison Project at the American Civil Liberties Union. “If a system is never held accountable for results it produces or if their results are so poor it’s in their interest not to track data, then you arrive at the systems we currently have — billions of dollars spent for no clear reason, with no evidence to support why American taxpayers are funding a practice.”
    This is long, but it's a well-written and worth the read.

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