Is Solitary Confinement a Form of Torture? Q&A with journalist James Ridgeway

"Obama says we don't torture, but a lot of this is straight-up torture," says journalism legend James Ridgeway. "We call Guantanamo and Afghanistan torture and we never look at our own stuff."

Ridgeway is talking about the growing use - and abuse - of solitary confinement in American prisons. He estimates there are 80,000 prisoners currently in solitary, many whom are mentally ill and suicidal. One prisoner Ridgeway is following has been in solitary for 40 years and he notes that some lawmakers are proposing life sentences in solitary as a "humane" alternative to the death penalty. Ridgeway and associates report their findings at SolitaryWatch.com.

Ridgeway is currently a Washington, D.C. correspondent for Mother Jones. He was a longtime correspondent for the Village Voice, and he's best known for uncovering that General Motors hired private detectives to try to defame consumer advocate Ralph Nader back in 1966.

ReasonTV's Nick Gillespie sat down with Ridgeway to talk about the growing use of solitary and what we can do about it.

About 5 minutes.

Shot by Jim Epstein and Tracy Oppenheimer, and edited by Epstein.

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  • nipplemancer||

    "This video is private."

    You might want to fix that.

  • Whiterun Guard||

    Calling crap like Solitary Confinement, Waterboarding, Barking Dogs and Harsh Language (despicable though they are) "torture", denigrates ACTUAL torture victims, waters down your argument against torture, and makes you seem like a shrieking buffoon.

    If you're against something, just say your against it, you don't have to call it "torture."

    I'm against people pinching the butts of waitresses uninvitedly, but I don't have to call it "rape" to be against it.

  • ||

    Oh, bullshit. If keeping a guy alone in a hole for years isn't torture, nothing is torture.

  • Almanian's Evil Twin||

    "Don't do the crime if you can't do the time.

    And keep your eye on the sparrow...."

  • Whiterun Guard||

    Really? 'Cause given the choice between having my legs sandblasted off and being put in solitary in a US prison, I'd take the solitary every single time. And so would you.
    You wouldn't even have to think about it.

    I'm not saying it's right or good or proper, but you don't have to call it 'torture' to say it's wrong. It's disingenous and basically a flat out lie.

    It's about the same as saying that showing an ID to vote is "Oppression." It sounds exactly the same.

  • niobiumstudio||

    Yeah I'd take the sandblasting my legs off every time. One time and let go vs dying in prison and being stuck there 23hours a day until the day I die.

  • ||

    This is where you choose to play stupid little semantic games? You TEAM RED dipshits tell us a lot about yourselves without meaning to, you know.

  • Whiterun Guard||

    That's all you got? Team Red? I'm against everything I listed there, I just say that calling it "torture" makes you sound like a fool, and I'm Team Red? I guess I better go get some Romney paraphernalia...

  • Tulpa the White||

    Anybody who disagrees with Epi and Warty is a partisan who repeats TEAM talking points.

    You need to understand that right now.

  • ||

    Funny, since the US gov't defined waterboarding as torture when the Japs did it.

    So where we wrong then? Wrong for prosecuting Japanese war criminals partly for waterboarding?

    If you think we were, that's fine, but most people don't understand that the, "waterboarding isn't torture" opinion is relatively recent, and in fact the opposite opinion was held whenever the enemy was doing it to us.

  • Tulpa the White||

    the opposite opinion was held whenever the enemy was doing it to us.

    Unfortunately, that's how most of these "moral outrages" work. Iran catches our troops in their borders and we cry "oopsie, they just got lost" but we capture some supposedly Iranian ruffians in Iraq and think it's casus belli.

  • ||

    You're absolutely correct, of course, Tulpa; one definition for me, but another for thee is a truism of human interaction.

  • ||

    And btw just because you personally find having ones legs sandblasted to be much more horrific than being in solitary confinement, doesn't make you right, or the author of the article. Torture can be different things to different people.

  • Whiterun Guard||

    You're right, there's no right or wrong on the definition, but my point is that it makes one sounds like an idiot and is self-defeating to do that.

    It's wrong on its own merits.

  • ||

    If you weren't a TEAM RED shill, you woudldn't be shilling their tired old bloodthirsty semantic games.

  • ||

    If you weren't a TEAM RED shill

    Give it a rest troll, stick to posting links to shitty music no one wants to listen to.

  • wareagle||

    okay, so because a decided TEAM BLUE writer says something, all that disagree with him must be disciples of TEAM RED. Amazing how TEAM NOTHING is just as susceptible to knee-jerk teamism as anyone else.

  • Rasilio||

    No you're wrong.

    There are many forms of torture and not all of them use proximate pain or fear of pain. Yes putting someone in Solitary for a week is preferable to having your legs sandblasted off but for 40 years? Do you have any idea what kind of psychological torture it would be to be left alone in a small cell for 40 years? When you talk about things like solitary confinement the duration REALLY matters.

  • anon||

    Do you have any idea what kind of psychological torture it would be to be left alone in a small cell for 40 years?

    Would you care if the person were in solitary for 40 years if they raped your daughter?

  • Rasilio||

    If someone raped one of my daughters I want them released with no charges tomorrow. Their odds of lasting 40 years however will be remarkably slim.

    That said this like of questioning is foolosh appeals to emotionalism because regardless of how my personal emotional desire for vengance may be it does not change my view of what the law should be.

  • KPres||

    Bingo. Asking the victim what the punishment should be is just as wrong as asking the convicted. And 40 of solitary is much worse than being raped, no matter how I look at it. Hell, I'd rather be executed.

  • wareagle||

    It's disingenous and basically a flat out lie.

    just track back to the source. No matter how thoughtful Ridgeway might be, he used to write for the Village Voice and now does so for Mother Jones. Therefore, he is bringing an agenda to the table, one that tends to view every inmate as a victim of something.

    Had he written for the American Spectator followed by National Review, conclusions would be drawn based on that, too.

  • Tulpa the White||

    Perhaps you should address his argument rather than his employers.

    I mean, Rad Balko writes for HuffPost and I'd refuse to stand by and let you insinuate he's some leftist shill.

  • wareagle||

    his argument traces back to ideological perspective, one echoed by the publication for whom he works. In simplest terms, I am far less concerned about criminals - genuine bona fide violence-drive-harm-others criminals - not some guy with a bag of something, than I am for those victimized by the truly bad guys.

    His assertion leaves out context - what did the prisoner do, what was the sentence, why was solitary picked as an appropriate punishment. Some folks are put in solitary, see: Sandusky Jerry, for their own protection. For whom he writes is part of that context.

  • KPres||

    Yeah but Balko gets a pass because of all the goodwill he built up before he sold out to that rag. Same can't be said about Ridgeway.

  • perlhaqr||

    Honestly, I think given a choice between being put in Gen Pop in a US prison, and being put in Solitary in a US prison, I'd take solitary.

    Who wants to be locked in with a bunch of other criminals?

  • niobiumstudio||

    This isn't torture? You're telling me a twelve or thirteen year old child being sentenced as an adult to life w/o parole and being tossed into solitary their entire life - never interacting with another human (other than guards who bark orders) is not torture? I would rather have my fingernails ripped out with rusty pliers and be let go than spend the rest of my life completely alone in a 6x8' cell 23 hours a day.

  • Whiterun Guard||

    No you wouldn't. And no, it's not torture.

    Wrong as fuck, but not torture. Something doesn't have to be "torture" to be wrong you know. It weakens the argument when you call it that.

    Like when a liberal calls a lowered increase a 'spending cut'.

  • niobiumstudio||

    Yes, in fact I would. Have you ever lost a nail. Yeah, it hurts like a motherfucker - and hurts like a motherfucker for about a month and a half. But it isn't a lifetime. And it isn't going to kill you. And I wouldn't compare this using your liberal spending cuts either - Torture doesn't have to be physical to be torture. Would you call a mock execution torture? Because mental anguish can be just as effective as physical torture in breaking someone down.

  • anon||

    The difference is that (theoretically) you're taking a violent criminal and punishing them vs a random law abiding citizen.

    If you're willing to commit murder or rape, you won't get a tear from me for being in solitary confinement, ever.

    Disclaimer: I understand that most "criminals" are in jail for bullshit that nobody really thinks they should be in there for in the first place. My statements do not refer to people in jail for victimless crimes.

  • niobiumstudio||

    Why even have that disclaimer? We have rights in the US (or we are supposed to). Yes, there are absolute monsters out there who do god-awful things - but there are also murderers out there that are very sympathetic. People who killed abusive, domineering parents, spouses, etc. People who did something horrible who deserve to be pulled from society (which prison does) - but what does putting them in solitary confinement for 40 or 50 years do? Does it help society? Does it act as a deterrent? No - obviously it doesn't act as a deterrent if even death doesn't act as a deterrent... so what is the purpose?

  • anon||

    No - obviously it doesn't act as a deterrent if even death doesn't act as a deterrent... so what is the purpose?

    First, ideally, we'd just execute them and save ourselves money. Barring that however, how can you bring yourself to care?

  • niobiumstudio||

    http://www.innocenceproject.org/ - that's how I bring myself to care.

  • Rasilio||

    Very easily.

    Not for the benefit of the jailed but for the benefit of the jailer and the rest of society.

    A society willing to utilize brutal punishments for no purpose other than to assuage some misguided sense of vengence is in no way shape or form a just society and requiring anyone to act as a Jailer in such a system is basically asking them to be Nazi SS agents who accept any order no matter how inhumane or dehumanizing because it is what "society" has deemed to be proper.

    This is why I prefer Death as a sentence, not as a punishment, because the Concept of Punishment should not even exist in the Criminal Justice system but because for some people Death is the only humane way to permanently remove them from society

  • Whiterun Guard||

    So I guess the NFL doing the lockout of the players a couple years ago was "slavery" too.

    That's what you sound like. The argument against crap like that is fine on its own WITHOUT calling it torture, which actually weakens your argument, which is my point.

  • ||

    Your semantic games are pointless and stupid. I think you need a little time in solitary. I have a feeling you'd change your tune after just a few hours, let alone days.

  • Tulpa the White||

    This is at its heart a semantic question, Epi.

  • ||

    It's a semantic question to you. When someone locks you in a tiny room for 23 hours a day, I have a feeling you will stop debating the "true meaning" of torture and start going mad.

  • Whiterun Guard||

    I'm a libertarian, I live my whole life in solitary.

  • EDG reppin' LBC||

    Good one. :-D

  • Tulpa the White||

    I certainly wouldn't like it, and yeah, there would be a psychological effect. But if that's your definition of torture then most of life is torture.

    You can define the word any way you like, but the usefulness may be limited by (a) not everyone agreeing with you on the meaning or (b) being too broad or narrow to be a meaningful concept.

  • ||

    I fully understand that most of your life seems like torture, you being who you are, but the point is that if someone is being treated in a manner specifically deigned to cause them pain (whether it be physical or mental), that is torture. And solitary is specifically designed to fuck someone up. And it does.

    That's torture.

  • Tulpa the White||

    So the intention is the distinguishing feature?

    I'm not picking on you (though I should) because it's an exceedingly difficult thing to define.

  • ||

    if someone is being treated in a manner specifically deigned to cause them pain (whether it be physical or mental), that is torture.

    So my coaches two a day practices were torture.

    OR, you're just a bloviating idiot.

  • wareagle||

    football is a bad analogy...no one forced you to participate. And if you considered two-a-days 'torture', what were you like when the last five minutes rolled around and you felt exhausted.

    The whole issue of waterboarding revolved around the definition you laugh at -- were those undergoing it being subjected to some sort of pain. Same has applied to nail-pulling, tooth removal, etc.

  • Bobarian||

    When they locked me in a little room for 23 hrs a day, they called it 'training'. It was only three days, but being in the box was a lot better than being outside the box.

  • Tulpa the White||

    This video isn't about juveniles. The SCOTUS ruling today didn't claim it's torture, just "cruel and unusual".

    And of course, just because it's unpleasant doesn't mean it's torture. Punishment for serious crimes isn't supposed to be pleasant.

  • ||

    Oh look, Professor Pomeranian is pro torture. Color me shocked.

  • Tulpa the White||

    Oh look, Epi is jumping to conclusions.

  • niobiumstudio||

    Sure, it's not supposed to be pleasant. But ANY sentence that isn't life without parole has the ultimate goal of rehabilitation and reintegration with society after the "debt" has been paid. Ultimately, if you don't have life without parole (except in cases of old offenders) they will be back on the street. 40 years in solitary is not going to help with rehabilitation, and serves no goal. It is arguably torture because of the correlation with mental illness, suicide, and all the crazy shit that happens to your brain with no human interaction. Causing someone to go crazy is torture in my book. You don't have to agree with me - it is an opinion. And while this may not have to do with juveniles, it is simple fact that juveniles are caught up in this and there are hundreds of juveniles serving life without parole and/or being put in solitary.

  • Tulpa the White||

    Rehabilitation is only part of it. Retribution, deterrent, and protection are also important components of criminal punishment. Whether solitary serves those goals is certainly debatable. Protection of oneself or the other prisoners is often cited as a reason for solitary, as well as deterrent for misbehavior inside prison.

    TBH, I'm not sure solitary is much more mind-warping than living in the midst of prison society.

  • anon||

    Gather all your rapists and murderers, put them in one central location, let them mingle... What could possibly go wrong?

  • Whiterun Guard||

    Nothing Kurt Russell couldn't fix.

  • Tulpa the White||

    I wrote a sci-fi story where they were put in monasteries in high school. I got a B-.

  • niobiumstudio||

    If you are not a psychologist I don't really care what your opinion on how mind-warping solitary vs gen-population is this is. The studies and papers I have read on the subject is that solitary is infinitely more taxing on your mind and that the chances of mental illness developing are far, far higher. Sure, solitary can be a great use for discipline within the prison - but how is 100% solitary from the time you enter prison a deterrent? And how is 40 years in solitary a deterrent? Sure, a month - even a year in the hole might deter you from being a jackass, but life in there can't deter you from doing anything since you are stuck there for life.

  • ||

    The deterrent of prison and prison torture is not aimed at prisoners.

  • KPres||

    Rehabilitation is only part of it. Retribution, deterrent, and protection are also important components of criminal punishment.

    Fuck all that. Justice is an eye for an eye.

  • Whiterun Guard||

    If causing someone to go crazy is torture then you're going to have to prosecute every woman I've ever dated.

    And I do agree with you on everything, even the 'arguably torture' part. But I will say that when you just flat out start by saying something like "Solitary Confinement is Torture" you basically just make half your audience shut down, which is self-defeating.

    And, personally, I find it an affront to actual, INARGUABLY torture victims the world over.

  • ||

    This is an asinine argument. It's like saying "it's stupid to call testicle crushing torture, because it's not nearly as horrible as a blood eagle. Now that's torture."

  • Tulpa the White||

    Trying to make me click that link is torture. I hope they lock you in solitary in a cell with movie screens on all six walls playing a continuous loop of Bay-Bruckheimer movies.

  • Whiterun Guard||

    That's not even close to what I was saying, and anyone with a reading comprehension greater than that of a publicly educated 4th grader would understand, but thanks for playing.

  • ||

    That is exactly what you were saying, tuffgai. It's a good sign that you recognize how retarded your argument is now, though.

  • Whiterun Guard||

    If you're just going to willfully disregard it (assuming you actually did understand my point, which I doubt), then enjoy wallowing in your idiocy and do continue shrieking into the void.

  • ||

    A is torture, B is less bad than A, therefore B is not torture. There's your argument, and it's equally stupid when A=ball-crushing and B=waterboarding as when A=blood eagle and B=ball-crushing. Your argument is utterly stupid, dude. You need to give it up.

  • Whiterun Guard||

    See the part when I said that I was against waterboarding, long term solitary, dogs and such, and then you said I was a TEAM RED SHILL made me think that you couldn't interpret words when they're put together.

    And you just confirmed it.

    Thanks!

  • Mickey Rat||

    "There's your argument, and it's equally stupid when A=ball-crushing and B=waterboarding as when A=blood eagle and B=ball-crushing."

    The argument your offering seems to be that anything inflicted on you that you find painful or unpleasnt is torture. If so, how is imprisonment as a punishment not torture?

  • Registration At Last!||

    I'm with Epi on these threads.

    (For Epi, me saying that is torture.)

  • ||

    HI GABE HOW ARE YOU GABE

  • Registration At Last!||

    Which side are you on, Warty?

  • ||

    This is an asinine argument.

    I like when you warn us in advance

    It's like saying "it's stupid to call testicle crushing torture, because it's not nearly as horrible as a blood eagle. Now that's torture."

    And then you deliver. HEY LOOK EVERYONE, EPI HAS TO MAKE A STUPID INAPT ANALOGY BECAUSE THE ACTUAL DEBATE HAS GONE BY HIM!!!

    MAYBE WARTY WILL COME BY AND BAIL HIM OUT BY SCREECHING RED TEAM SHILL!!! SOME MORE!!!

  • ||

    "If causing someone to go crazy is torture then you're going to have to prosecute every woman I've ever dated."

    Heh. * nodding slowly *

  • wareagle||

    try a better argument. 12 and 13-year olds do not get sentenced to life w/o parole or get put into solitary. Regardless, you are merely expressing a preference over two forms of punishment; picking one does not automatically render the other as torture.

  • niobiumstudio||

    Yeah, they actually do. Look up people like Dominic Culpepper 14, Trina Garnett 14, Demarious Banyard 13 (resentenced to get eventual parole), there are many, many kids you can look up who got life without parole. Yes, it was just outlawed, but that doesn't mean there aren't already a ton of kids behind bards for life without parole.

  • niobiumstudio||

    I'm sorry - the recent supreme court case just threw out Mandatory life without parole for children under 18 - not the possibility of life without parole. There are currently about 2500 people sentenced to life without parole who were charged before they turned 18. 79 were charged before they were fourteen. So yes, 12 and 13 year olds ARE in fact sentenced to life without parole.

  • wareagle||

    the rationale of life w/o parole, while a good argument, is not the one this thread is about. I don't see kids tossed into solitary and the whole argument neglects the point of what did the individual do in the first place. That is where I part company with the likes of Ridgeway - his focus is perpetually on the criminal.

  • anon||

    Sarcasmic tortures me every morning, posting links of hot women to look at that I'll never sleep with. I vote solitary confinement.

  • R C Dean||

    In your bunk?

    Or did you mean solitary confinement of sarcasmic?

  • anon||

    Yes?

  • Tulpa the White||

    We have to be clear on the definition of the word "torture" before we can even have this conversation.

    Without an agreed-upon definition, it just becomes another TEAM shouting match.

  • R C Dean||

    Here's the current legal definition:

    (1)“torture” means an act committed by a person acting under the color of law specifically intended to inflict severe physical or mental pain or suffering (other than pain or suffering incidental to lawful sanctions) upon another person within his custody or physical control;

    (2)“severe mental pain or suffering” means the prolonged mental harm caused by or resulting from—
    (A)the intentional infliction or threatened infliction of severe physical pain or suffering;

    (B)the administration or application, or threatened administration or application, of mind-altering substances or other procedures calculated to disrupt profoundly the senses or the personality;

    (C)the threat of imminent death; or

    (D)the threat that another person will imminently be subjected to death, severe physical pain or suffering, or the administration or application of mind-altering substances or other procedures calculated to disrupt profoundly the senses or personality;

    http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/18/2340

    To be perfectly honest, I don't think it helps resolve the dispute.

    Shout away, TEAMsters!

  • anon||

    Yeah, by the definitions provided Dean, imprisonment for violent crime is a form of "torture."

  • Tulpa the White||

    other than pain or suffering incidental to lawful sanctions

  • R C Dean||

    Doncha love the way they had to exclude anything and everything that happens in prison?

  • Tulpa the White||

    I don't know that it would cover everything; I wouldn't say that being beaten by the guards just for fun is "incidental" to the prison sentence.

  • R C Dean||

    I wouldn't say that being beaten by the guards just for fun is "incidental" to the prison sentence.

    That's actually a tough call. In the regulatory compliance area, "incidental" generally means something like "not specifically authorized, but it happens pretty routinely anyway".

    Its a slippery word.

  • anon||

    "lawful sanctions" means that nothing is torture in prison then. Argument settled.

    If that's how you want to play semantics, that is. There are several other definitions provided that show how imprisonment is a form of "torture."

  • Tulpa the White||

    I agree that it's not a good definition...

  • Fluffy||

    The distinction appears to be:

    If you're keeping someone in prison to separate them from society, it's not torture.

    If after you have them separated from society, you put them into solitary because you want them to experience anguish (on top of and apart from their separation from society) it's torture.

    I think the "specifically intended" wording is important.
    If

  • Tulpa the White||

    Even were he set free, Jerry Sandusky is never ever going to be allowed to be alone with anyone's children again. So if the only purpose of prison is to prevent someone from harming people in society there's no point in putting him in jail.

    Ditto with Bernie Madoff, Rod Blagoyevich, etc.

  • ||

    Overloading the senses is one form of torture, prolonged sensory deprivation is another.

    One can break your leg, the other your mind. They both cause misery.

    Perhaps this is a semantic argument. My notion of torture is causing pain in order to extract information or bring about a change of mind in the victim. Solitary confinement can be used to that end, but in the prison system it is used as a form of revenge. So, lets not call it torture, but it definitely is a form of cruelty.

  • Tulpa the White||

    My notion of torture is causing pain in order to extract information or bring about a change of mind in the victim.

    This is problematic because it excludes the pain-causing actions of sadists, who don't care about information or persuasion.

  • ||

    torture, torment, cruelty, sadism......

    There is a lot of overlap in there. You are right, my definition is problematic. It is based on the motive and ends sought by the tormenter. Sadism could be included in that.

  • Paul.||

    And what about modern Health Departments that torture us for our own good?

  • anon||

    I think this argument really needs to be framed differently:

    Do any of you give a shit if we torture people that commit heinous crimes, and where do you draw the line?

  • Whiterun Guard||

    I mean, I do. And I'd draw the line at anything actively intended to cause pain or disorientation.

  • anon||

    See, that's where we differ. I don't care about people that commit murder/rape. I wish we could execute them faster. They have lost what it means to be human by taking all liberty away from their fellow man. No longer being human, I lose compassion.

  • ||

    Then you be the one to pull the trigger.

  • sarcasmic||

    Torture doesn't have to be physical to be torture.

    There is such a thing as mental torture, and I think being locked alone in an over sized closet for days, weeks, or even years, most certainly qualifies as such.

  • ||

    Do any of you give a shit if we torture people that commit heinous crimes...

    You were hitting on this upthread, about if we would really care about torture if the guy raped our daughters, etc.

    Yes, I would still care. Why do you assume that just because you don't, everybody else doesn't? I'm not a monster, or amoral, even if other people are. I care about just treatment for the guilty, for no other reason than a personal code of morality. I'm sorry you're seeming to have such a difficult time comprehending that.

  • Whiterun Guard||

    If someone raped my daughter, I would want him released from custody as soon as possible.

    Me doing something in retribution is very different than the state doing something.

  • ||

    Yeah....I would go so far as to provide an alibi for the guy. I am sure the cops would never see through that.

  • sarcasmic||

    Regarding a father killing his daughter's rapist, I have two words: jury nullification.

  • Whiterun Guard||

    I think despite how Law (and) Order presents it, you'd only get a half-hearted prosecution in any case. Unless you were a dumbass about it, and did it in big public circumstances like in the courthouse or something.

  • ||

    Probably. It may not be logical, but I would draw a big distinction between a father doing something to avenge his child, and the state brutalizing someone over 40 - 60 years.

  • anon||

    Regarding a father killing his daughter's rapist, I have two words: jury nullification.

    At least Texas doesn't even arrest the guy.

  • Marty Feldman's Eyes||

    Reminds me of the real life Pit of Despair

    "Harry Harlow and his colleagues go on torturing their nonhuman primates decade after decade, invariably proving what we all knew in advance—that social creatures can be destroyed by destroying their social ties."

    If it's considered "inhumane" for monkeys, it's sure as hell inhumane for actual humans.

  • Fluffy||

    That's not even close to what I was saying

    Sure it is.

    You said that because you could think of worse things than solitary, it can't possibly be torture. You said that because people would choose it over other procedures, it can't possibly be torture.

    It was a dumb argument and you got called on it.

    I "would rather" get electroshock every day for a year than spend a single evening with a boa constrictor in my cell. By the terms of your argument, that would mean that daily electroshock wouldn't be torture.

  • sarcasmic||

    Not even a emerald tree boa?

    http://cdn.c.photoshelter.com/.....B-0100.jpg

    They're perfectly harmless!

  • R C Dean||

    I hear they taste like chicken, if that helps.

  • Kantofang||

    Sounds to me like a lot of folks in there deserve what they get.

    www.Dot-Anon.tk

  • Nate||

    I'm completely fine with solitary confinement for convicted paedophiles and rapists.

  • Bill Dalasio||

    Can someone do me a favor and define torture? I don't think we can define it reasonably as "anything that the afflicted finds objectionable or not to his liking". Otherwise, pretty much any punishment amounts to torture. That's why it's punishment. Does anyone think taking a guy away from his friends and family and sticking him in with a bunch of dangerous and unsavory people is somehow or another pleasant? If not, are we going to start pretending incarceration itself is "torture"?

  • Chloe||

    Depends, are we talking about a Republican administration or a Democratic one?

  • JeremyR||

    If I ever go to prison, I would much, much rather end up in solitary confinement than with other prisoners were I would be quite likely to end up being raped...

  • Torontonian||

    I would take solitary in a second over general population.

    To me, the worst part about prison would be the other convicts.

  • MikeT||

    People don't get put into solitary confinement as punishment or torture, they mainly get put into solitary confinement because they keep hurting other prisoners and/or guards. How do you propose dealing with violent inmates instead?

  • ||

    ReasonTV's Nick Gillespie sat down with http://www.maillotfr.com/maill.....c-3_7.html Ridgeway to talk about the growing use of solitary and what we can do about i

  • nike air max mens||

    Ridgeway is currently a Washington, D.C. correspondent for Mother Jones. He was a longtime correspondent for the Village Voice, and he's best known for uncovering that General Motors hired private detectives to try to defame consumer advocate Ralph Nader back in 1966.

  • Jim176||

    Torture ,like beauty is in the eye of the beholder. A 2 year old thinks he is being tortured if he doesn't get the candy bar he wants. If you don't want to kill him but you still must have some control over him to prevent him from harming other people what else can you do? One could argue that it is more humane to never sentence anyone to life in prison and just execute them quickly. The pain will be momentary and then stop.

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