Prison Life

Ex-Sheriff David Clarke, Defender of Harsh Prisons, Whines about Manafort's Jail Treatment

Meanwhile, meet a psychologically scarred man who disfigured himself while serving 22 years in solitary in Illinois.

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David Clarke
Ron Sachs/SIPA/Newscom

Chicago Tribune's reporting this week on the psychological devastation of Anthony Gay's 22 years of solitary confinement should make you feel pity, horror, and rage over how our incarceration systems run.

Gay, now 44, was convicted in 1994, when he was 18, of robbery after a street fight with another teen where he stole a hat and a single dollar. He was sentenced to probation, which was revoked when he was caught driving without a license. Then, what should have been a short prison stint ended up becoming years and years in solitary, as the frequently suicidal young man would keep getting into fights with guards.

Trapped alone in his cell with very little psychological support or assistance, Gay turned to self-harm, mutilating his arm (there's photo evidence in the story), other parts of his body, and even his testicles. His confrontations with guards resulted in repeated new indictments, often stacked separately to extend his jail time for the purpose of making an example out of him. He eventually had 97 years tacked onto his sentence.

He finally turned to legal help (he represented himself during all these indictments while he was incarcerated). Eventually lawyers got his sentence reduced and now he's free. He's also suing the state of Illinois over the use of solitary confinement and the visible, terrible impact it had on his mental health.

It would take a special kind of awful person to downplay the real horror of Gay's story in order to attempt (and fail miserably) to score some sort of political points on Twitter. So let's see what former Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke Jr. is up to these days:

Oh. I see. We probably shouldn't expect Clarke to actually care about what happened to Gay in prison. Recall that under Clarke's leadership in Milwaukee County, a man died of dehydration in the county jail after being denied water for a week. He has also made it abundantly clear that he opposes criminal justice reform and is generally supporter of a cruel prison system. He actually titled a chapter of his book, "Guess What? Prison Is Supposed to Be Unpleasant."

So one might think Clarke would actually be repulsed by the special treatment Paul Manafort actually received while was in federal jail (and a reminder here: He was only incarcerated in the first place because he violated the terms of his pretrial release and contacted witnesses in his case to allegedly attempt to influence their testimony). Unlike most people who are in "solitary" confinement, Manafort was not actually stuck in his cell, had access to computer equipment and a phone, and met with his legal team regularly.

People who aren't wealthy and connected to the president don't have such kind experiences in jail, thanks exactly to terrible people like Clarke. His sudden but very, very limited concern about the effects of solitary confinement is reminiscent of the Republican members of Congress who cared about misuse of federal surveillance tools against people connected to President Donald Trump, yet nevertheless voted in favor of renewing and expanding the authority of the government to use these surveillance tools against other American citizens.

But hey, in the end, Clarke's horrible tweet is probably drawing attention to a horror story that might have slipped under many people's radars. So there's that, anyway.

The headline has been updated to correct a name.

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  1. “Don’t remember ANY Lying Lib News outlet writing sob stories about Paul Manafort being held in solitary confinement 24-7 as a form of torture to squeeze him into making something up about @realDonaldTrump. Where was the concern for HIS mental well-being?”

    It’s a fair comment, actually; Has Manafort been attacking guards, or anything like that? Any basis AT ALL for putting him in solitary?

    Nope, none. It’s purely and unambiguously punishment for not singing the tune Mueller dictated.

    Not to minimize what happened to Gay, but there was at least a scrap of an excuse in his case.

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    2. Not true. As described in the post, he’s not in what is traditionally thought of as solitary. He’s granted movement, phone, personal shower and bathroom, and even computer privileges. He is segregated for safety reasons, but it is hardly a disciplinary tool or “the hole”.

      1. You are trying to reason with birthers, CubFanHawksMan. I admire the optimism but question the practical value of that approach.

  2. Being on probation is scary because once people find out, they actually try to instigate fights and situations to get you in trouble. The recent movie Blindspotting, about a guy who has 3 days to go on probation, is about this issue. (His friend is a troublemaker. Not a good movie, but interesting.) It’s suddenly ‘guilty until proven innocent’. Thus the problem isn’t the ‘system’ but often your own ‘friends’ and family. So there is only so much that ‘criminal justice reform’ can do for these people. Having said that, solitary confinement is completely wrong. This guy doesn’t need ‘mental health treatment’ in prison (can you imagine?). He needed to be allowed to socialize and get an education or training. Also honestly I felt sorry for Manafort when they wheeled him in. Some kind of dietary issue. Prison is no place for an old man. Having said that, I know he’s a bad guy and deserves it. And not because of ‘Russia collusion’ (which is nonsense) or for lying, but for tax evasion (i.e. real crimes).

    1. Well, sure, he’s a bad guy, as are many people in D.C.. The problem is he’s a bad guy they knew about, but left alone until they were on a tear go attack anyone who associated with Trump. He’s not really in jail for the tax evasion. He’s in jail for daring to work for Trump and not spout whatever Mueller told him to say.

      The real crime here isn’t Manafort in prison, (Though he still shouldn’t be in solitary.) but all the people who equally deserve to be in prison in D.C. who aren’t, because they picked the “right” candidate to work for.

      1. Man, that’s some heavy-duty selective attention.

      2. its probable that Manafort was put in solitary for his own safety from the general population of street criminals.

        1. An attempt to place Mr. Manafort in general population likely would precipitate a motion for protective order from Mr. Manafort’s attorneys. That point won’t stop gullible right-wingers from bleating about his (kid glove) treatment in jail.

    2. And not because of ‘Russia collusion’ (which is nonsense) or for lying, but for tax evasion (i.e. real crimes).

      Tax evasion is only a crime to statists. Anyone doing time for it is a fucking martyr, and braver than I. Someone to be revered. Since we’re now talking about Manafort the liar, this at least redeems him slightly by my estimation.

  3. Gay, now 44, was convicted in 1994, when he was 18, of robbery after a street fight with another teen where he stole a hat and a single dollar. He was sentenced to probation, which was revoked when he was caught driving without a license. Then, what should have been a short prison stint ended up becoming years and years in solitary, as the frequently suicidal young man would keep getting into fights with guards.

    So he was punished because he broke the law and kept breaking the law?

    Wow, TreasonNN, are there any other laws you think shouldn’t be enforced?

    1. It’s sad that you apparently believe that fighting with guards = attacking guards, rather than defending oneself from being beaten up by guards. Prison guards have absolute power to rough up detainees, and often harass visitors to the prison, safe in the knowledge that the system will back them up.

    2. It’s sad that you apparently believe that fighting with guards = attacking guards, rather than defending oneself from being beaten up by guards. Prison guards have absolute power to rough up detainees, and often harass visitors to the prison, safe in the knowledge that the system will back them up.

  4. >>>by the special treatment Paul Manafort actually received while was in federal jail

    hey asshole next time you get out of federal prison on fake charges let us know how it went. and lose “actually”

    1. Hey guy, Manafort broke the law numerous times.

      1. Yeah, but it’s kind of like the local sherif going out on I 385 during the evening commute, and nailing only his political enemies for speeding, when every last car on the road is exceeding the speed limit. Selective prosecution can be corrupt, even if the guy who does get prosecuted is guilty.

        1. The law is the law, and if we should enforce all laws equally.

          If you don’t like a law then get Congress to change it.

          1. Indeed, we should enforce all laws equally, and by that standard the question isn’t why Manafort is in prison.

            It’s why Tony Podesta isn’t.

            But there’s still no excuse for Manafort being in solitary.

            1. My guess: one man broke the law, the other didn’t.

              1. Your guess would be wrong, which is why Tony needed that immunity agreement.

                In fact, Manafort’s work as an unregistered foreign agent was in Tony’s employ.

                1. That’s not a fact at all. It’s an idiot rightwing nutjob Talking Point.

                  Why do you Trumpkins post at Reason?

                  1. “The Podesta Group and Mercury both did work to benefit a pro-Russia Ukrainian party through Brussels-based nonprofit European Centre for a Modern Ukraine. The Podesta Group earned more than $1.2 million from the client from 2012 through 2014, according to disclosures it filed with the Justice Department.”

                    Basically they were in cahoots together on this, though the coverage has led me to believe that Manafort was the junior partner in the crime.

                    In any event, they’re peas in a pod as far as the relevant crimes are concerned, except that Manafort gets prison, and Podesta gets immunity.

              2. Tony Podesta broke the law numerous times, so did his brother John.

          2. Selective prosecution is not the law, it is arbitrary state power.

            But Orange Man Bad, so political selective prosecution is now a Libertarian Moment.

        2. “Yeah, but it’s kind of like the local sherif going out on I 385 during the evening commute, and nailing only his political enemies for speeding,”

          Well, it’s more like the local sheriff going out on the freeway during the evening commute, and catching his own campaign manager for speeding. And then random people on the Internet whining because (gasp) he was actually PUNISHED for speeding. And then something, something about secret hidden power behind the scenes, shadows, and puppets, and sheep. It always ends with sheep.

          1. Yeah, let’s pretend that Mueller is Trump’s friend, just because they share a nominal Republican nomination. And not ask why Mueller only seems to hire Democrats, if he’s such a Republican.

            You can be political enemies and share a common party membership, you know.

            1. And not ask why Mueller only seems to hire Democrats, if he’s such a Republican.

              He’s probably focusing on educated, credentialed, accomplished candidates willing to reside in modern, successful communities.

          2. “it’s more like the local sheriff going out on the freeway during the evening commute, and catching his own campaign manager for speeding”
            It’s not like that at all. What a poor analogy.

      2. i addressed the fake charges.

        1. How were the charges fake if they were real charges?

          1. “fraud” and “conspiracy” … barely charges in the first place, wouldn’t have been a thing at all except for T … fake charges.

            1. Ohhhhh okay, I didn’t they were created out of the ether just because of the President. My bad, cuz.

              1. Manafort = most railroaded person since Libby. Have a party if you take pleasure in it I hope it’s never you.

                1. Libby chose of his own volition to fall on his sword. No sympathy here.

                  1. sword via Amtrak …

  5. So apparently stealing and assaulting people is peachy but talking to people about events you’re being brought up on charges on is a bridge too far?

    1. talking to people about events you’re being brought up on charges on is a bridge too far

      It is against the law…

    2. I have only been involved in a civil suit which was dropped. First thing the lawyer told me was that I could only talk to her and my wife because they could not be questioned. I was not to talk with any experts or other people involved. Sure enough one of the first questions I was asked in deposition was who have I discussed it with. Manafort surely knew this.

      1. My point being the assaults and theft are treated as if they don’t matter and shouldn’t be crimes because poor little Gay didn’t ever do anything to deserve the treatment he got (which seems excessive but I can’t tell because of the slant in the article). While the conversations are being treated like high treason.

        1. “My point being the assaults and theft are treated as if they don’t matter and shouldn’t be crimes because poor little Gay didn’t ever do anything to deserve the treatment he got”

          That’s an interesting point, but you seem to be the only one asserting this.

        2. How bad would the fights with the guards have to be for him to spend 22 years in solitary, in your opinion?

    1. This botsite must scour news aggregate sites for tags and then generate the appropriate comment with the link.

      Then it grabs conservative cartoons to visually break up the paragraph blocks in the articles while paying minimum wage to an Indian national overstaying a visa to make sure the articles have structure to them.

  6. It takes a special kind of motherfucking sick twisted piece of shit to defend David Clarke over somebody saying something the least bit critical about a mere acquaintance of your Lord and Savior Donald J Trump. You people are repulsive and loathsome and creepy and seriously fucked-up.

    1. What if I just like his silly hats?

      1. If you had Donnie’s hair, you’d try to bring hats back into style, too.

    2. *Actually*, it takes a stupid, ignorant, drooling partisan golem to distill Bellmore’s posts down to some kind of defense of Trump. Your post addresses nothing of what Bellmore actually wrote.

      By the way, if you don’t like the clientele, you’re welcome to fuck off to somewhere else. May I recommend Jezebel?

      1. They’re probably a little too erudite and grounded at Jezebel for Jerkyskids tastes. Perhaps tumblr would be a better match.

    3. Preach it!

  7. It appears, based on what Mr.Gay says, that he attacked people.

    A lot.

    For attention.

    And he hurt himself.

    For attention.

    Because he needed human contact.

    But he could have had human contact by not attacking people while incarcerated and/or by not continuing to commit crimes while on probation.

    I suspect Mr. Gay had mental health issues before this whole sad story began.

    And, I suspect that his side of the story might look very different from reality.

    1. I’d like to know how badly he beat up the guy for a dollar, did he punch him in the arm or did he almost put him in a grave. The punishment for either is far apart and based on his latter actions I’m assuming he almost put his victim in a grave.

      1. You’re assuming that probation is the punishment for almost killing someone? How odd.

  8. “would keep getting into fights with guards.”

    gLOL

  9. Clarke? That preening sissy who strutted around wearing a “super sheriff” shirt bedazzled by Boy Scout badges, fake enforcement patches, Monopoly tokens, and pink Lucky Charms mallows? The half-educated authoritarian who rode around on his horsey, with a two-gallon hat, in downtown Milwaukee?

    Is that guy working elderly yahoos for direct mail contributions, acting as a spokesman and dinner speaker for wingnut causes, or just collecting a taxpayer check for doing nothing while fishing around in Lucky Charms boxes for more ornaments for his fancy, phony shirt?

  10. ” as the frequently suicidal young man would keep getting into fights with guards.”

    He is doing suicide wrong.

    “Getting into fights with guards.”

    Are they all a bunch of buddies who roughhoused a bit too much? More likely, he’s attacking guards.

    A prisoner who is a danger to others should be in solitary confinement. If he found that unpleasant, maybe he should have cut down on the “fights”.

    “x-Sheriff David Clarke, Defender of Harsh Prisons, Whines about Manafort’s Jail Treatment”

    Reason, Defender of the Oppressed, Enemy of Tyrannical Government, Cheers on Solitary Confinement for Non-Violent Political Prisoner.

    “Libertarian Moment”

  11. I take it this wasn’t the same Sheriff Clark who was dancing cheek-to-cheek with Lena Horne in Lehrer’s “National Brotherhood Week”

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  13. Stories like this would be so much more effective if they relied less on sarcasm.

  14. If Anthony Gay wanted OUT OF JAIL – He should decide to stop being a menace to society and/or security guards. The correction facility isn’t designed to see if one can “fight” their way out of it. Its made to protect society from people who are a menace in hopes they decide to STOP BEING a menace. Perhaps Anthony really belongs in a mental institution since after 28-years he still cannot figure out this basic concept or perhaps the particular prison he went too has issues (not mentioned in article if it does). But my sympathy is pretty minimal for those who insist to be a compulsive menace.

  15. The biggest problem with Ye is that he is a black person who wandered off the liberal plantation. You can be racist as you want towards him due to wrong think. Call him uncle Tom, house N*, whatever. Claim he has mental issues, no problem! Don’t you dare be a minority off that plantation.

    The funniest part is Snoop calling him an Uncle Tom. Snoop literally does commercials with Martha Stewart.
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  16. The real disgrace is that when Mueller was head of the FBI at the time Manafort committed his crimes, he had no interest in perusing any conviction. 10+ and suddenly Mueller now wants to prosecute Manafort because he has links to the Trump campaign. He wants to squeeze Manafort for any information he can use to bring Trump down. Manafort would have gone to his grave without and prosecution is he had not been on the Trump team. It is absolutely disgusting that Mueller is allowed to peruse this. We all know this was Mueller on a fishing expedition looking for a crime. He could not find any collusion and was allowed to spread the net way beyond his original mandate to find a crime. He has made a mockery of the criminal justice system and Trump is more than justified in calling it a witch hunt because that is exactly what it is

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