Blackholes – United States of Prisoners

“[T]he prisoners had lost almost every feeling of humanity for each other;… self-preservation appeared to be their only wish.”
– Thomas Dring, an American prisoner on board the British prison ship Jersey in the eighteenth century[1]

Dear Kim Moon-shine,

In these cold winter days, your letters are a balm to my febrile mind.

It’s true that the current butcher of the White House, President Trump, is tightening the noose of sanctions around North Livia.

But the North Livian people under your leadership have shown yet again that even the most punitive sanctions cannot sway them from perfecting the Gwasong-15 Intercontinental Ballistic Missile.

You are right to question the hypocrisy of American Sonderkommandos who attack North Livia for its gulags when America has over two million prisoners in various incarceration centers.

In truth, America might as well be renamed the United States of Prisoners.

Numero Uno

Men, women and children, young and old, locals and foreigners, all are grist to the fiery American furnace of its prisons.

America has more prisoners than any other nation on this planet.

The prisoner count in the so called tyrant states of Russia, China and North Korea pales besides that of America.

The bulk of America’s incarcerated people are housed in state prisons while the rest rot in local jails, federal facilities, private prisons, immigration detention centers and juvenile prisons.

Out of the total U.S. population of 323.1 million, about 2.3 million people are incarcerated in various detention centers spread across the nation.

An oft-cited statistic reveals the grim American incarceration picture: America accounts for 4.4% of the world’s population but 22% of the world’s prisoners.[2]

In 2018, America has about 4,575 incarceration centers (approx. 3,300 local jails, 1,200 state incarceration centers and 102 federal prisons).

Black Holes

Conditions in the majority of American prisons and jails are nothing short of hellish, brutal and a living nightmare for its unfortunate inhabitants.

Angola Maximum Security Prison in Louisiana, Image Courtesy: Louisiana State Penitentiary

Hobbes’ state of nature can best be seen inside America’s prisons and jails where cruelty and degradation of inmates is the principal goal of the nation’s (in)justice system.

U.S. historians have made a big deal of the brutal floating prisons maintained by the British during the War of Independence in the eighteenth century. But those floating prisons are no match for the hellholes of the twenty-first century U.S. prisons.

So bad are conditions at some U.S. incarceration hellholes that prisoners are forced into the extreme state of staging insurrections and riots.

In February 2017, an insurrection erupted at the Vaughn Correction Center in Smyrna (DE).

Just 14 months later, a violent riot in the Lee Correctional Institution “maximum-security” prison in South Carolina left seven people dead and 17 injured. All of the dead and injured were inmates who were beaten, stabbed or slashed in the fight that broke out among inmates on Sunday, April 15, 2018.[3]

Violence is the norm than the exception inside America’s Black Holes aka prisons or correctional centers.

Why So Many Prisoners

The simple reason for the high number of prisoners in the U.S. is that American Sonderkommandos are a sadistic bunch beneath their lofty veneer of compassion and civility.

Parole restrictions often make it hard for prisoners, who have already spent several years in prison, to get out of their Black Holes.

Many prisoners spend several years behind bars before they’re able to step out unshackled.

Of course, there’s also the financial reason (as always, money rules in cold-blooded America) of ensuring high occupancy levels, and creating and keeping prison jobs for semi-literate White Sonderkommandos.

Privatizing Prisons

Since brutal capitalism has been the mantra of America ever since the first scum of Europe landed here in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, it’s only natural that private corporations want a piece of the prison pie.

The number of inmates in private prisons has increased by 45% to 126,272 during the 2000-2015 period.[4]

Conditions in private prisons are often worse and more violent than in the government run detention facilities.

So vast is private sector involvement in the incarceration business that a new term has crept into the American lexicon: Prison-Industrial Complex.

Some of the private companies running prisons have large numbers of shareholders from the public and institutional investor community.

Presumably, a lot of pension funds invest in prison stocks too thus making millions of retirees benefit from the incarceration epidemic in America. So older Americans have developed a vested interest in keeping young Americans locked up in prison for long periods of time so that the geezers can enjoy a comfortable retirement.

Donald Trump’s electoral victory provided a huge boost to the private prison business.

Stocks of private prisons are up and the U.S. (In)Justice Department has revoked the Obama administration’s decision to get rid of private prisons for housing federal prisoners.

Free Labor

America is all about money.

Especially in prisons.

Prisoners are routinely forced to engage in “voluntary” work at private incarceration centers.

Prisoners who refuse to engage in “voluntary” work are thrown into solitary confinement or threatened with segregation.[5]

When they are paid at all, prisoners get as little as 50-cents an hour. That’s how capitalism works in America. Exploit the most vulnerable through threats and paying them peanuts.

Unsurprisingly, ICE detainees have filed lawsuits against private prison contractors in Colorado, California and the state of Washington over the use of forced labor that masquerades as “voluntary.”

Healthcare Deprivation

If there’s one thing American prison centers are notorious for, it’s depriving inmates of healthcare.

Every year, tens of thousands of prisoners in America are refused the basic human right of healthcare.

Desperate for healthcare and to draw attention to their horrific plight, some sick prisoners set fires inside the cell while mentally ill inmates mutilate themselves or commit suicide.[6]

There’s not a single prison or jail in America that has adequate doctors, nurses and counseling staff.

In several prisons, inmates have died because they did not receive proper medical care.

In the United States of Whackos, marriage and family therapists serve as mental health directors of prison hospitals.

So bad was the healthcare crisis in Delaware prisons that the U.S. Justice Department was compelled to intervene.

Look at Our Prison Rapes

Classless American Sonderkommandos can’t get enough jokes about prison rape.

Every year, tens of thousands of men and women get raped in prison and jails across America.

Human Rights Watch found that 140,000 males are anally raped in American prisons and jails.[7]

U.S. prisons and jails are rife with sexual abuse since no one pays attention to the cries of victims.

A U.S. Justice Department survey in 2008 found that 216,000 inmates were sexually abused in prisons and jails.[8]

But few Americans care for the life-long trauma of the rape victims.

They deserve it, deserve it,” the American Sonderkommandos guffaw as late night comic show hosts weave prison rape jokes into their narrative.

Solitary Confinement Torture

Of the many forms of torture American Sonderkommandos love to deploy in prisons, solitary confinement ranks among the worst.

Solitary confinement victims are often shackled, fed the minimum to prevent death, kept in a constant state of hunger, and subjected to assaults by sadistic prison guards with batons and tasers.

It’s also a punishment Americans delight in imposing upon Blacks, Hispanics and, in recent years, on Muslims in the insane War on Terror.

Blacks and Hispanics account for 95% of solitary confinement in the United States of Racists.

Deprived of all human contact, books or even toilet paper, the solitary confinement victim dies a million deaths every day in a tiny concrete cell.

Depending on the whims and caprices of sadistic prison guards, victims can spend weeks, months or even years in solitary confinement.

Notwithstanding the Eighth Amendment proscription against cruel and unusual punishment, solitary confinement is not considered cruelty in most states of America.

While solitary confinement is an old form of torture, America has honed, refined and organized the barbarous practice into a fine art.

Researchers say America has between 80,000-100,000 men and women in solitary confinement every day.[9]

Given that solitary confinement is a long-standing staple of federal and state prisons and jails, it’s safe to conclude millions of Blacks and Hispanics in America have been subjected to this dreadful torture.

Even children have not been spared the cruelty of solitary confinement in the United States of Depravity.

Some prisoners like Thomas Silverstein have spent decades in solitary confinement, a cruelty that the Federal Appeals Court in Denver found did not violate the Constitution.

Foreign travelers like Alex Tocqueville, Beaumont and Charles Dickens were horrified by the American solitary confinement system.

Prisoners are routinely thrown into solitary confinement for minor infractions.

Walking slowly, walking fast, eating an apple seed, refusing to eat an apple, and having too many postage stamps are among the several grounds for being flung into solitary confinement.

In desperation, solitary confinement victims go crazy and resort to “Weapons of Ass Destruction,” i.e. the practice of hurling their feces at others (prison guards and fellow inmates).

Other prisoners set themselves on fire to escape the agony of solitary confinement.

Many solitary confinement prisoners go stark mad, scream nonstop, mutilate themselves or attack other inmates during the rare moments they are allowed out of their cells.

But American Sonderkommandos, who revel in the torture they inflict on others, have turned a deaf ear to all complaints against solitary confinement.

Once In, No Exit

For thousands of people sentenced to life in prison, America’s prisons are a One-Way Ticket.

Once these “life-term” people get into the American Gulags there’s no way out. Only in a coffin can they come out.

Several of the “life-term” prisoners are in the Gulags for non-violent crimes like White-Collar financial crimes or drug offenses.

Even if they are dying, congenitally cruel American Sonderkommandos inside the prison system will not let them spend their last days outside with close family and friends.

Sick prisoners in their 70s, 80s and 90s are routinely denied compassionate release by the Bureau of Prisons.

A joint study by the Marshall Project and New York Times found that compassionate releases, even for terminally ill prisoners, seldom happen.[10]

The study found that from 2013-2017, the Bureau of Prisons approved a mere 6% of the 5,400 applications for early release on compassionate grounds.

While the official reason for rejecting most release applications is that the prisoners pose a risk to society or that the crimes were too horrible, the real reason is that the Bureau of Prisons wants to keep occupancy level high.

After all, if a lot of prisoners get released on sick or compassionate grounds the jobs of sadistic prison guards would be in jeopardy, right?

Even if the prisoner is blind, dying from cancer or suffering serious liver failure, America’s Gulags will mercilessly hold on to the prisoners.

After all, the United States of Prisoners has been running on a compassion deficit for several decades.

Outlook for Prisons

As long as America has the wherewithal to house large numbers of prisoners, it will continue to do so.

Only when their finances are under great strain will a state (California, for instance) take the step of releasing prisoners on parole or stop throwing people into prison for minor drug offenses.

The hopeless conditions in American prisons are a monument to the nation’s cruelty, particularly toward Hispanics, Blacks and poor people.

Karma Gospel Notes

[1] Recollections of the Jersey Prison Ship, by Albert Greene (based on Thomas Dring’s diaries)
[2] United States Incarceration Rate, Wikipedia
[3] 7 Inmates Dead, 17 Injured After Hours of Rioting at South Carolina Prison, by Amy W. Wang and Mark Berman, Washington Post, April 16, 2018
[4] Private Prisons in the United States, Sentencing Project, August 28, 2017
[5] Private Prison Continues to Send ICE Detainees to Solitary Confinement for Refusing Voluntary Labor, by Spencer Woodman, The Intercept, January 11, 2018
[6] Inside a Private Prison: Blood, Suicide and Poorly Paid Guards, by Timothy Williams, New York Times, April 3, 2018
[7] No Escape: Male Rape in U.S. Prisons, Human Rights Watch; also see, Prison Rape in America, Wikipedia
[8] Prison Rape and the Government, by David Kaiser and Louis Stannow, New York Review of Books, March 24, 2011
[9] For a peek into the U.S. solitary confinement torture, read America’s Invisible Inferno, by Martin Garbus, New York Review of Books, December 8, 2016
[10] Old, Sick and Dying in Shackles, by Christie Thompson, Marshall Project, March 7, 2018

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