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I read today about the California prisoners who've gone without food for 45 days now to protest the practice of keeping people on solitary for a year or more. A judge decided that the prisons can force feed them. This is barbarism. Their rationale is that some of the fasting prisoners have been mislead. I almost expect to hear the Shrubism: "wrongheaded" applied to the prisoners. But it is our practices of incarceration that are wrong.

First of all, it is entirely inhumane to keep any person locked away in solitary for any time at all. We are not designed to be all alone, and left all alone for too long almost any human will loose their mind. A whole year in isolation is enough to make a very sane and functional person completely mad. It is very reasonable for prisoners to protest against this practice with every tool they have.

Second of all, even prisoners should have the right to refuse food if they want to. Everyone should have the right even to end their life if they so choose, especially adults. After all, if a person cannot decide what to do with their life, is it their life at all? This kind of prison practice makes capital punishment look humane.

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( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
ford_prefect42
Aug. 28th, 2013 03:37 pm (UTC)
Well, prison time isn't *supposed* to be pleasant. It's supposed to be a deterrent against doing things that get you sent there! Frankly, it isn't even supposed to be humane!

However, I agree with you that they shouldn't be force-fed. One of the most important aspects of freedom is the freedom to screw things up.

And Obama uses "wrongheaded" WAY more than shrub ever did.
liveonearth
Aug. 28th, 2013 11:46 pm (UTC)
Absolutely. The freedom to end it seems integral to the freedom to exist in the first place.

As for whether or not we want to be humane in our treatment of prisoners; I agree that decent treatment does not matter if the only purpose of prison is deterrence. But there is this other idea that criminals might be rehabilitated, might somehow be of value in the future. If there is a chance that a person could be brought back to responsible citizenship and personhood, then doing things that destroy their psyche is counter productive. I would like to think that some people go to prison and come out better, instead of worse, than they were when they went in. I happen to know a few individuals who would say this is true for them....and are grateful. This seems to be increasingly rare....
ford_prefect42
Aug. 29th, 2013 04:00 am (UTC)
I hear you, but the thing is, i know of 2the circumstances where someone will be kept in solitary. First is someone that has a history if horrible crimes while in prison. Killing guards or other inmates, etc. The other is "supermax" where the very most dangerous prisoners are quartered. Was there ever a chance of rehabilitating ted bundy?

And even there, "solitary" doesn't mean "solitary", it means they can still talk and interact with their neighbors, but they don't go to the yard or have a cellmate.
liveonearth
Aug. 29th, 2013 03:43 pm (UTC)
Bundy and those like him who cannot be remediated are the ones who might be best dead, not imprisoned. It is unfortunate that our system incurs such grand expense to execute an inmate.
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )

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