Writer in 29th year of solitary confinement barred from reading his own book


#1

Originally published at: http://boingboing.net/2016/09/24/writer-in-solitary-confinement.html


#2

Publication which incites disobedience towards law enforcement officers or prison personell [sic], presents clear and immediate risk of lawlessness, violence, anarchy, or rebellion agiainst [sic] governmental authority…

Does this imply the police have somebody who reads all the books? Or do they just judge by its cover?


#3

Police don’t run prisons. Shareholders do.


#4

So, has anyone asked the guard he murdered how he feels about eternal solitary confinement in a casket?


#5

I’m against private prisons, but they were only 8% of total US prison population in 2013 (I’m sure it’s higher than that, but not that much higher) – private prisons are parasitic on an existing, bloated prison system and a good measure of its awfulness, but the bloat begins with the government.

Some interesting statistics here:


#6

Torture certainly is an appropriate response to crime in a country governed by the rule of law, including one in it’s most sacred document which bans ‘cruel and unusual punishment’.

Especially in a country that has recently decided to be governed by ‘Judeo-Christian values’. Who can forget that biblical scene when Peter asks Jesus how many times someone should be forgiven and Jesus replies ‘Never. “An eye of an eye and a tooth for a tooth” is my law.’

The gospel of irredemability and especially inherited, genetic, uncleansable sin (as shown through, say, skin colour) is a cornerstone of all of American Christianity, governance and laws. If it were up to me and my Jesus, I’d take cop-killers and boil them alive, slowly in oil, then hang draw and quarter them. No medieval punishment is too much because none of them will raise the dead.

‘Keep punishing them until the dead return’ should be true of all crimes, I say, as a real Patriotic american who happens to be white. (Not that it has anything to do with my attitude. I just happen to love all symbols of authority and power as a coincidence.)


#7

I’d say it begins with racist laws, sentencing guidelines and targeting of the poor, but I take your point. I really just meant it as an offhand quip.


#8

I don’t see that solitary confinement is particularly useful unless the prisoner is constantly attacking guards and other prisoners every time he comes out of his cell. As a generalized punishment for being a bad guy, even a really bad guy, I’m against it. I have no problem denying prisoners all sorts of privileges for bad behavior within the confines of a prison, but denying human interaction completely seems egregious.


#9

Does this hypothetically include the shareholders of corporations that make use of coerced prison labour, like say, McDonalds, Walmart, Starbucks, American Airlines, and Victoria’s Secret?


#10

29 years of solitary really does sound like a fate worse than death. It’s torture, plain and simple. And unlike the extraordinary rendition of suspected “terrorists”, this torture doesn’t even come with the bullshit pretense of a ticking time-bomb scenario.


#11

Could his attorney bring in a copy of the book and read it to the writer (or let the writer read it in his or her presence?)


#12

What did the guy do in the first place? [edit - oh, drug related felony that escalated before he was actually jailed]


#13

are you just making shit up?

“You have heard that it was said, “An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth”. But I say to you, do not resist an evildoer. If anyone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also.” - Jesus, sermon on the mount.

( For the record, I’m an atheist. I don’t care about the bible. But I do care about misquoting stuff.


#14

I think your sarcasm detector is failing for celesteh’s post. That, or mine is with your post.


#15

I’m sure the guards’ treatment of this particular individual is at least somewhat influenced by the fact he killed one of their own.


#16

Even Magneto got an opportunity to play chess with old friends once in a while.


#17

In 2001, after Billy Blake was awarded damages for injuries sustained in an attack by another inmate, the wife and sons of the deputy he killed while attempting to escape jail on robbery and drug charges sued him for five million dollars.

This is his testimony from that trial, the first time since the killing that he testified in detail about what happened that day.

Syracuse.com: Killer Billy Blake ordered to pay murdered deputy’s family $5 million in damages (Including full transcript of Blake’s testimony.)

I think the full transcript is worth a read, no matter how you feel about solitary confinement.

Oh, and those wondering why he’s in “administrative” (i.e., permanent) solitary might also note that he attacked the prosecutor in the courtroom during the closing arguments of his trial for the murder of the deputy:

Defendant Attacks Prosecutor During Closing Arguments; Found Guilty


#18

Interesting. One thing I noticed in that article:

Blake was later blindfolded, gagged and returned to the county jail.

That would probably because he looked at the judge the wrong way?
I mean seriously. What good does that do? How is that anything but low-grade torture of an innocent-but-soon-to-be-proven-guilty prisoner?

Also, bloodying somebody’s nose is no reason for a few decades of torture*.


* torture: Yes, I know, there is still some debate whether solitary confinement really constitutes torture. Some people say it is torture, whereas others say that only applies to prolonged solitary confinement (prolonged = more than two weeks). Some apologists even go as far as claiming that even prolonged solitary confinement is just “cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment” that might do irreversible damage to the victim’s psyche. So there’s really a pretty wide spectrum of opinions on the issue among human-rights-aware people. /s


#19

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