By Sharon Shalev
This publication examines the increase and proliferation of 'Supermaxes', huge prisons devoted to protecting prisoners in lengthy and strict solitary confinement, within the usa because the past due Eighties.
Drawing on specific entry to 2 Supermax prisons and on in-depth interviews with criminal officers, criminal architects, present and previous prisoners, psychological health and wellbeing execs, penal, criminal, and human rights specialists, it offers a holistic view of the speculation, perform and effects of those prisons. Given the historical makes use of of solitary confinement, the ebook additionally lines continuities and discontinuities in its use on either side of the Atlantic over the past centuries.
It argues that instead of being a completely 'new' kind of imprisonment, Supermax prisons draw on rules of structure, surveillance and regulate that have been set out within the early nineteenth century yet that are now more suitable via the main complicated applied sciences to be had to present day legal planners and directors. It asks why a sort of confinement which were discredited long ago is now proposed because the top resolution for facing 'difficult', 'dangerous' or 'disruptive' prisoners, and assesses the genuine expenditures of Supermax confinement.
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Extra resources for Supermax : Controlling Risk Through Solitary Confinement
But while the principles of the new penitentiaries were received with broad consensus, the finer points of their exact application were fiercely debated. For example, should prisoners’ separation from each other be absolute, or should they be allowed to mix together, but maintain complete silence? Should prisoners be allowed to work, and, if so, should they be engaged in productive work or be given intentionally monotonous tasks? Should they work with others or alone in their solitary cells? Eventually, two different versions of these prisons were devised.
For example, should prisoners’ separation from each other be absolute, or should they be allowed to mix together, but maintain complete silence? Should prisoners be allowed to work, and, if so, should they be engaged in productive work or be given intentionally monotonous tasks? Should they work with others or alone in their solitary cells? Eventually, two different versions of these prisons were devised. The ‘silent system’, first implemented in Auburn Prison, New York, where prisoners slept in solitary cells but participated in congregated work and outdoor recreation while maintaining strict silence at all times, and the ‘separate system’, developed in Philadelphia’s Eastern State Penitentiary and later in Pentonville Prison in England, where prisoners were held in strict solitary confinement at all times and were required to work in their solitary cells.
START, then, can be viewed as a type of ‘pre-rehabilitation’. (Committee on the Judiciary, 1974: 264) Rather than rehabilitating prisoners, then, programmes like START and CARE aimed to make prisoners more docile and more susceptible to rehabilitation programmes through solitary confinement. 12 Participation in the START programme was not voluntary. Those who were selected to take part in it were held in solitary confinement, provided only with the bare necessities, and initially allowed out of their cells only twice a week for showers and once a week for exercise.