May 20

WTF Headline Of The Day: GOP Senator Says “US Is Under-Incarcerated,” Should Lock Up More People:

There are 2.3 million Americans in prison or jail. The U.S. has 5 percent of the world’s population but 25 percent of its prisoners. One in three black men can expect to spend time in prison. There are 2.7 million minors with an incarcerated parent. The imprisonment rate has grown by more than 400 percent since 1970, and that increased incarceration has had a very limited effect on crime over the past two and a half decades. So… with that in mind, here is a little more crazy to end the week from Senator Tom Cotton…

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Feb 23

Texas prison riot: 2,800 inmates to be moved from now ‘uninhabitable’ facility (RT, Feb 22, 2015):

After 2,000 inmates, mostly immigrants, took over a Texas prison in a riot over poor medical services, federal authorities have decided to relocate all the detainees from the now “uninhabitable” correctional facility.

The riot at the Willacy County Correctional Center erupted on Friday afternoon, when prisoners refused to eat breakfast or report for work to protest medical services at the facility.

The prison was practically run over by the inmates, who continue to hold down the fort. It still remains unclear what medical service issues had upset the inmates. Only around 800 to 900 inmates have refused to riot in a facility that holds some 2,900 people, most of whom are immigrants with criminal record.

Continue reading »

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Feb 14

America’s Prison Population Over The Past 100 Years

Chart of the Day – America’s Prison Population Over the Past 100 Years (Liberty Blitzkrieg, Feb 12, 2015): 

There are 2.3 million Americans in prison or jail. The U.S. has 5 percent of the world’s population but 25 percent of its prisoners. One in three black men can expect to spend time in prison. There are 2.7 million minors with an incarcerated parent. The imprisonment rate has grown by more than 400 percent since 1970.

Recent research suggests that incarceration has lost its potency. A report released this week from the Brennan Center for Justice at the New York University School of Law finds that increased incarceration has had a very limited effect on crime over the past two and a half decades.

– From today’s Five-Thrity-Eight article: The Imprisoner’s Dilemma

The sickening and absurd rate of incarceration in these United States has been a frequent topic of conversation here at Liberty Blitzkrieg over the years (links at the end). In our national insanity, the U.S. has only 5% of the worlds population, yet 25% of its prisoners. Many of these people have no business being locked in a cage to begin with, and are wasting their lives away for committing “victimless crimes,” i.e. for no good reason.

While the immorality of locking up so many of our fellow citizens for non-crimes should be readily apparent, today’s article from Five-Thirty-Eight offers evidence that America’s incarceration rate has become so saturated that it has absolutely no meaningful impact in lowering crimes rates anyway. The time for prison reform and the elimination of mandatory minimum sentences is long overdue.

From Five-Thirty-Eight: Continue reading »

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Aug 03

Added: Jul 20, 2014

America’s prisons are broken. Just ask John Oliver and several puppets.

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Jul 12

Prisons at breaking point, says UK Chief Inspector (RT, July 11, 2014):

British prisons have seen a “significant” and worrying deterioration, the chief inspector of prisons in England and Wales has said.

Speaking to BBC Newsnight, Nick Hardwick urged the government to take action, telling the programme that he saw prisoners living in “deplorable conditions” in some jails. Continue reading »

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Jun 28

​Nebraska releases hundreds of inmates by mistake, now wants them back (RT, June 28, 2014):

Authorities in Nebraska have mistakenly freed hundreds of prisoners over several years due to correction officials miscalculating their sentences. Law enforcement is now looking to put dozens of them behind bars again.

All in all, 306 inmates were freed erroneously, a situation first exposed by local media outlet Omaha World-Herald. 257 of them won’t be pursued, on condition that they don’t commit any offenses – because they would have completed their sentences by now. Three others died since they were let go, and five have successfully completed their parole. Continue reading »

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Jun 25

Prison Inmates Offer Captive Market For Gadget Makers (NBC News, June 22, 2014):

The catalog of corrections-approved electronics also spans big brands such as Sony and Casio with items like headphones, radios, and 15-inch flat-screen TVs, all modified to be “prison safe” –- that is, “see through” and sealed with “security screws,” according to the website for Union Supply Direct, one of the few players in this little-known market. That company is based in Rancho Dominguez, California.

Then there is Keefe Group, which has offices in 10 cities and dubs itself “the nation’s leading supplier” of prison-ready products and electronics, including televisions, typewriters, CD players, portable radios, fans, and clocks. Continue reading »

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Apr 30

Inhuman, medieval conditions are the norm in Brazilian prisons where inmates have few rights. In a country where police would rather shoot a suspect than lock him up prison conditions speak to the larger issues at play.

Added: Apr 28, 2014

Hell Hole: The shocking secret world inside the walls of Brazil’s prisons

This shocking report on the inhuman, medieval conditions experienced by Brazilian prisoners defies belief. How can such an economically stable country perpetrate such blatant human rights abuses?

“We want out! The water is yellow! It’s making us sick!”. The prisoners of the Central Prison of Porto Alegre scream out of iron-barred windows. Inside, it’s a veritable museum of horrors: crumbling stone cells designed for 8 men are crammed with 40: mattresses line the floors, corridors, and even the rancid toilets, and men are literally left to rot to death. “The situation is chaotic”, says Prison Inspector Gilmar Bortolotto. He shows us the guns, mobile phones, drugs, and other weapons that are smuggled in inside the body, or by visitors or crooked staff. He explains that prison gangs impose their own rules here: “they charge [other prisoners] to sleep, to shower, for food. It’s basically a laboratory for more criminal problems”. Building new prisons, to separate repeat offenders from first timers, and the most dangerous criminals from the minor offenders, is the only way forward. Yet attributing the lack of funding for prison reforms to “the will of the people”, Gilmar seems doubtful this will ever happen. A quote from Mandela eloquently expresses his deep sense of shame: “you don’t know a country until you know that country’s prisons.”

SBS Dateline – Ref. 4811

For downloads and more information visit:…

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Mar 27

The 50 Most Comfortable Prisons in the World (The Arrest Records, March 20, 2014)

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Mar 10


FBI Launches Investigation into a Private Prison So Violent it is Called “Gladiator School” (Liberty Blitzkrieg, March 9, 2014):

In what is one of the most disturbing private prison stories you’ll ever hear, a facility in Idaho run by Corrections Corporation of America (CCA) in under investigation by the FBI due to claims it was so violent inmates called it “Gladiator School.” So how does a prison transform into such a place? Apparently, CCA was so eager to cut costs that it chose to understaff the facility and hand over control to prison gangs.

I’ve covered private prisons on many occasions in the past, including this CCA facility in particular. I think private prisons are one of the worst ideas possible in a democratic society. I suggest you read some of my prior articles:

A Deep Look into the Shady World of the Private Prison Industry

Idaho Dumps Private Prison Company Due to “Violence, Understaffing and Over-billing”

America in 2013: Florida Football Stadium Named After a Private Prison Company

America in 2013: For-Profit Prisons Get Favorable Tax Breaks

Now from the AP:

BOISE, Idaho (AP) — The FBI has launched an investigation of the Corrections Corporation of America over the company’s running of an Idaho prison with a reputation so violent that inmates dubbed it “Gladiator School.”

Continue reading »

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Feb 19

Half of U.S. prison sex crimes involve staff toward inmates: fed study (Reuters, Jan 24, 2014):

Nearly 9,000 incidents of sexual victimization against inmates in U.S. prisons and jails were reported in 2011, with roughly half of them involving corrections staff, according to a report by the federal Bureau of Justice Statistics.

The number of incidents showed a “significant increase” over about 8,400 incidents reported in 2010 and 7,855 reported in 2009, it said. The year 2011 was the most recent cited in the bureau study, published on Thursday.

Continue reading »

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Dec 21

What’s Next For The US Prison System? (ZeroHedge, Dec 22, 2013)

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Sep 24

Related article:

The More Americans They Put Behind Bars The More Money They Make

Corrections Corporation of America Used in Drug Sweeps of Public School Students:

“To invite for-profit prison guards to conduct law enforcement actions in a high school is perhaps the most direct expression of the ‘schools-to-prison pipeline’ I’ve ever seen,”

The Gulag Ameripelago: US Incarceration Surpasses Russia’s

Prison Labor Booms In US As Low-Cost Inmates Bring Billions (Video)

A Deep Look into the Shady World of the Private Prison Industry (Liberty Blitzkrieg Sep 23, 2013):

Private prisons are antithetical to a free people. Of all the functions a civilized society should relegate to the public sector, it’s abundantly clear incarceration should be at the very top of the list. Jailing individuals is a public cost that a society takes on in order to ensure there are consequences to breaking certain rules that have been deemed dangerous to the happiness and quality of life within a given population. However, the end goal of any civilized culture must be to try to keep these cost as low possible. This should  be achieved by having as few people as possible incarcerated, which is most optimally achieved by reducing incidents of criminality within the population. Given incarceration is an undesirable (albeit necessary) part of any society, the idea is certainly not to incentivize increased incarceration by making it extremely profitable. This is a perverse incentive, and one that is strongly encouraged by the private prison industry to the detriment of society.

Continue reading »

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Aug 16

A Broken, Corrupt and Immoral Criminal Justice System (Liberty Blitzkrieg, Aug 15, 2013):

You know that the rule of law has essentially vanished when the Attorney General himself feels compelled to state: “America’s legal system, we must face the reality that, as it stands, our system is in too many respects broken.” That is precisely what Eric Holder stated earlier this week, while seemingly taking no responsibility for that fact despite being the top lawyer in the nation. Guess he was too busy protecting his banker masters from prosecution to notice.

In any event, the broken criminal justice system really took center stage earlier this year when the federal prosector Carmen Ortiz drove child prodigy Aaron Swartz to his death by piling on overzealous charges in an attempt to advance her career. Instead she drove a gentle genius to an untimely death. Kudos Ortiz.

In light of Holder’s comment, Bloomberg columnist Clive Crook wrote an excellent article outlining some of the main attributes of out increasingly Kafkaesque legal system. Here are some key excerpts: Continue reading »

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Jul 23

H/t reader M.G.:

“Adding to this mess, here is a story from Cyprus. They are jailing people for debt. Didn’t the 19th century teach these clowns anything? How can people pay if they are in jail?
Here is the link. Insane.”

You can’t make this stuff up!

Rise in debtors adds to prison overcrowding (Cyprus Mail, July 23, 2013):

THE ALREADY over-full Nicosia Central Prisons is becoming even more crowded as the financial crisis worsens and more people are being jailed for non-payment of fines and other debts.

Prison Governor Giorgos Tryfonides told the Cyprus News Agency (CNA) that efforts were being made to help such convicts pay off their debts in instalments.

“We are trying our best to make plans for payment of debt so an arrangement can be made with the attorney-general to postpone any punishment as long as the instalment is accepted by the plaintiff,” he said.

Due to the crisis, the number of people facing jail for financial reasons is on the rise compared to other years, Tryfonides said, adding on certain days up to five people might be imprisoned for similar offences.

Continue reading »

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Jul 14

Gangs Ruled Prison as For-Profit Model Put Blood on Floor (Bloomberg, July 12, 2013):

In the four privately run prisons holding Mississippi (BEESMS) inmates last year, the assault rate was three times higher on average than in state-run lockups. None was as violent as the Walnut Grove Youth Correctional Facility.

The for-profit detention center, surrounded by razor wire and near the forests and farms of central Mississippi, had 27 assaults per 100 offenders last year, more than any other prison in the state, according to an April court filing. Staff shortages, mismanagement and lax oversight had long turned it into a cauldron of violence, where female employees had sex with inmates, pitted them against each other, gave them weapons and joined their gangs, according to court records, interviews and a U.S. Justice Department report.

“It was like a jungle,” said Craig Kincaid, 24, a former inmate. “It was an awful place to go when you’re trying to get your life together.”

Continue reading »

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May 31

Notes from the Underground: John Kiriakou’s Letter from Prison (Liberty Blitzkrieg, May 31, 2013):

Greetings from the Federal Correctional Institution at Loretto, Pennsylvania.  I arrived here on February 28, 2013 to serve a 30-month sentence for violating the Intelligence Identities Protection Act of 1982.  At least that’s what the government wants people to believe.  In truth this is my punishment for blowing the whistle on the CIA’s illegal torture program and for telling the public that torture was official U.S. government policy.  But that’s a different story.  The purpose of this letter is to tell you about prison life.

The prison population is much like you might expect.  Loretto has 1,369 prisoners (I never call myself an “inmate.”  I’m a prisoner).  About 50% are black, 30% are Hispanic, and 20% are white.  Of the white prisoners, most are pedophiles with personal stories that would make you sick to your stomach.  The rest of the white prisoners are here for drugs, except for a dozen or so who ran ponzi schemes.

-John Kiriakou

What follows is a rather brief, but incredibly interesting letter from John Kiriakou, the only person to be jailed in a torture related case in the U.S. Of course, he wasn’t involved in torture, he blew the whistle on it.  For that offense he has been caged, while those actually involved in allowing torture roam free.  I first highlighted John’s plight last year before he was jailed in my piece:  Have You Heard of John Kiriakou? I suggest reading that post before getting into the letter below.  Enjoy.

John Kiriakou Letter From Loretto 1

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Mar 14

Private Prisons: The More Americans They Put Behind Bars The More Money They Make (Economic Collapse, March 11, 2013):

How would you describe an industry that wants to put more Americans in prison and keep them there longer so that it can make more money?  In America today, approximately 130,000 people are locked up in private prisons that are being run by for-profit companies, and that number is growing very rapidly.  Overall, the U.S. has approximately 25 percent of the entire global prison population even though it only has 5 percent of the total global population.  The United States has the highest incarceration rate on the entire globe by far, and no nation in the history of the world has ever locked up more of its own citizens than we have.  Are we really such a cesspool of filth and decay that we need to lock up so many of our own people?  Or are there some other factors at work?  Could part of the problem be that we have allowed companies to lock up men and women in cages for profit?  The two largest private prison companies combined to bring in close to $3,000,000,000 in revenue in 2010, and the largest private prison companies have spent tens of millions of dollars on lobbying and campaign contributions over the past decade.  Putting Americans behind bars has become very big business, and those companies have been given a perverse incentive to push for even more Americans to be locked up.  It is a system that is absolutely teeming with corruption, and it is going to get a lot worse unless someone does something about it.

Continue reading »

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Dec 14

The Gulag Ameripelago: US Incarceration Surpasses Russia’s (ZeroHedge, Dec 13, 2012):

Remember when Americans used to mock Russia (f/k/a the USSR) for being one big Gulag prison colony? Those were the good days. One thing is sure: they no longer “hate us for our freedom.” On the other hand, if instead of prison, one were to write in “minimum security, free room and board, out early for good behavior” (especially if the world’s most famous hedge fund will fund all your cash needs for the rest of your life on the ‘other side’ just as we predicted three weeks ago), then they would certainly hate us for our benefits.

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Dec 10

YouTube Added: 09.12.2012


US breeds a Chinese-style inmate labor scheme on its own soil. Both state and some of the biggest private companies are now enjoying the fruits of a cheap and readily available work force, with tens of millions of dollars spent by private prisons to keep their jails full.

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Jan 26

“Six million people are under correctional supervision in the U.S.—more than were in Stalin’s gulags.”

– A Critic at Large The Caging of America Why do we lock up so many people? (The New Yorker, Jan. 30, 2012):

For most privileged, professional people, the experience of confinement is a mere brush, encountered after a kid’s arrest, say. For a great many poor people in America, particularly poor black men, prison is a destination that braids through an ordinary life, much as high school and college do for rich white ones. More than half of all black men without a high-school diploma go to prison at some time in their lives. Mass incarceration on a scale almost unexampled in human history is a fundamental fact of our country today—perhaps the fundamental fact, as slavery was the fundamental fact of 1850. In truth, there are more black men in the grip of the criminal-justice system—in prison, on probation, or on parole—than were in slavery then. Over all, there are now more people under “correctional supervision” in America—more than six million—than were in the Gulag Archipelago under Stalin at its height. That city of the confined and the controlled, Lockuptown, is now the second largest in the United States.

Continue reading »

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Dec 12

The federal prison in Florence, Colo., has long held terrorists. The justice system has absorbed a surge of terrorism cases since 2001 without the international criticism that Guantánamo Bay has attracted.

Beyond Guantánamo, a Web of Prisons for Terrorism Inmates (New York Times, Dec. 10, 2011)

WASHINGTON — It is the other Guantánamo, an archipelago of federal prisons that stretches across the country, hidden away on back roads. Today, it houses far more men convicted in terrorism cases than the shrunken population of the prison in Cuba that has generated so much debate.

An aggressive prosecution strategy, aimed at prevention as much as punishment, has sent away scores of people. They serve long sentences, often in restrictive, Muslim-majority units, under intensive monitoring by prison officers. Their world is spare.

Among them is Ismail Royer, serving 20 years for helping friends go to an extremist training camp in Pakistan. In a letter from the highest-security prison in the United States, Mr. Royer describes his remarkable neighbors at twice-a-week outdoor exercise sessions, each prisoner alone in his own wire cage under the Colorado sky. “That’s really the only interaction I have with other inmates,” he wrote from the federal Supermax, 100 miles south of Denver.

There is Richard Reid, the shoe bomber, Mr. Royer wrote. Terry Nichols, who conspired to blow up the Oklahoma City federal building. Ahmed Ressam, the would-be “millennium bomber,” who plotted to attack Los Angeles International Airport. And Eric Rudolph, who bombed abortion clinics and the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta.

In recent weeks, Congress has reignited an old debate, with some arguing that only military justice is appropriate for terrorist suspects. But military tribunals have proved excruciatingly slow and imprisonment at Guantánamo hugely costly — $800,000 per inmate a year, compared with $25,000 in federal prison.

Continue reading »

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Nov 27

Robot guards with sensors to detect abnormal behaviour will soon begin patrolling South Korean prisons to ease the burden on their human counterparts, researchers said on Thursday.

Prison guard robot: Three robots will be tested at a correctional facility in the southeastern city of Pohang next March when development is completed Photo: EPA

‘RoboCop’ guards to patrol South Korean prisons (Telegraph, Nov. 24, 2011):

A group of scientists has developed the robot warders under a one billion won (£546,000) project organised by the Ministry of Knowledge Economy.

The robots – 1.5 metres (five feet) high and running on four wheels – will mostly be used at night.

They can connect prisoners with officers through a remote conversation function, according to a statement from the Asian Forum for Corrections (AFC), a South Korea-based group of researchers in criminality and prison policies.

Continue reading »

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Aug 01

Safest place for black men is in prison, says report that found they are half as likely to die while behind bars (Daily Mail,  July 31, 2011):

Black men are half as likely to die at any given time if they’re in prison than if they aren’t, suggests a new report.

A study looking at inmates in North Carolina found that black prisoners seemed to be especially protected against alcohol and drug-related deaths, as well as lethal accidents and certain chronic diseases.

But that pattern didn’t hold for white men, who on the whole were slightly more likely to die in prison than outside, according to findings published in Annals of Epidemiology.

Researchers say it’s not the first time a study has found lower death rates among certain groups of inmates – particularly disadvantaged people, who might get protection against violent injuries and murder.

Continue reading »

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May 24


Feb. 15, 2009: Cash crisis forces California to free 55,000 prisoners

Feb. 10, 2009: U.S. judges seek massive California prisoner release

Supreme Court orders California to free up to 46,000 prisoners (Telegraph, 23 May, 2011):

California has been ordered by the US Supreme Court to release up to 46,000 prisoners because of chronic overcrowding, despite one jail in the state only having only two inmates.

The Supreme Court said cramped conditions in the state’s prison system were causing “needless suffering and death.”

Continue reading »

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Mar 10

Two thousand inmates in Yemen jail revolt (Independent):

About 2,000 inmates have staged a revolt at a prison in the capital of Yemen, taken a dozen guards hostage and joined calls by anti-government protesters for the country’s president to step down, a Yemeni security official said.

He said the unrest in the Sanaa jail erupted late last night when prisoners set their mattresses ablaze and occupied the facility’s courtyard.

He said the guards fired tear gas and gunshots into the air but could not subdue the inmates.

The official said today that troops have beefed up security outside the prison. He added that a number of inmates were hurt in the unrest.

Yemen’s President moves against protesters seeking to unseat him as students and prisoners call for him to quit

An elderly protester holds up his dagger during a demonstration in Sana’a, Yemen’s capital; 98 were wounded, many critically, when the army tried to break up a sit-in at Sana’a University. Photograph: Muhammed Muheisen/AP

The Yemeni government escalated its efforts to stop mass protests yesterday calling for the president’s removal, with soldiers firing rubber bullets and tear gas at students camped at a university in the capital during a raid that left at least 98 people wounded, officials said.

The army stormed the Sana’a University campus hours after thousands of inmates rioted at the central prison in the capital, taking a dozen guards hostage and calling for President Ali Abdullah Saleh to step down. At least one prisoner was killed and 80 people were wounded as the guards fought to control the situation, police said.

Continue reading »

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Feb 27

We need to throw all Americans into prison to close the budget gaps these days.

Oh, and even that might be not enough.

Inmates at the California Institute for Men at Chino in training to perform underwater welding work.

JAY, Fla. — Before he went to jail, Danny Ivey had barely seen a backyard garden.

But here he was, two years left on his sentence for grand theft, bent over in a field, snapping wide, green collard leaves from their stems. For the rest of the week, Mr. Ivey and his fellow inmates would be eating the greens he picked, and the State of Florida would be saving most of the $2.29 a day it allots for their meals.

Prison labor — making license plates, picking up litter — is nothing new, and nearly all states have such programs. But these days, officials are expanding the practice to combat cuts in federal financing and dwindling tax revenue, using prisoners to paint vehicles, clean courthouses, sweep campsites and perform many other services done before the recession by private contractors or government employees.

In New Jersey, inmates on roadkill patrol clean deer carcasses from highways. Georgia inmates tend municipal graveyards. In Ohio, they paint their own cells. In California, prison officials hope to expand existing programs, including one in which wet-suit-clad inmates repair leaky public water tanks. There are no figures on how many prisoners have been enrolled in new or expanded programs nationwide, but experts in criminal justice have taken note of the increase.

Continue reading »

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Feb 14

Non-lethal: The Assault Intervention Device emits invisible laser-like beam to trigger a brief burning sensation and is set to be installed at a detention centre

It looks like something out of a video game, but this monstrous machine could come in very handy for breaking up prison fights.

The Assault Intervention Device (AID) emits an invisible laser-like beam to trigger a brief but painful burning sensation and has been touted as a new type of Taser gun.

Officials plan to set up the machine in a detention centre dormitory in Castaic, California, although it has not yet been given the green light by its federal sponsor.

The AID was first unveiled last summer, but its federal backers – the National Institute of Justice (NIJ) – have decided to review the project further before moving forward.

Non-lethal weapons such as ‘pain rays’ and Tasers are controversial and human rights groups fear they can be misused and may even be fatal on vulnerable people.

Continue reading »

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Jun 04

Cruel and Unusual Punishment: Soy Diet for Illinois Prisoners


When Rod Blagojevich was elected governor of Illinois in 2002, he immediately made a change in the prison diets. Beginning in January 2003, inmates began receiving a diet largely based on processed soy protein, with very little meat. In most meals, small amounts of meat or meat by-products are mixed with 60-70 percent soy protein; fake soy cheese has replaced real cheese; and soy flour or soy protein is now added to most of the baked goods.

The governor’s justification for replacing nutritious meat and cheese with toxic soy protein was financial-to lower the enormous costs of running the Illinois Department of Corrections. However, the likely reason is payback for campaign contributions from Archer Daniels Midland, the main supplier of soy products to the Illinois prisons.

Suffering of Inmates

Early in 2007, the Weston A. Price Foundation began hearing from inmates who were suffering from a myriad of serious health problems due to the large amounts of soy in the diet. These prisoners had found us through the Soy Alert! section of our website. Complaints include chronic and painful constipation alternating with debilitating diarrhea, vomiting after eating, sharp pains in the digestive tract, especially after consuming soy, passing out, heart palpitations, rashes, acne, insomnia, panic attacks, insomnia, depression and symptoms of hypothyroidism, such as low body temperature (feeling cold all the time), brain fog, fatigue, weight gain, frequent infections and enlarged thyroid gland. Since soy contains anti-fertility compounds, many young prisoners may be unable to father children after their release.

The suffering of these men is intense and medical care is palliative at best. Many have had sections of their digestive tract removed, but all requests for a soy-free diet are denied. The men are told, “If you don’t like the food, don’t eat it.” That means that unless they can afford to purchase commissary food, they must eat the soy food or starve.


The Weston A. Price Foundation has hired an attorney to represent several inmates incarcerated in the Illinois Department of Corrections system. The Foundation’s attorney has entered his appearance on behalf of three inmates, has had contacts with several other inmates, has served several subpoenas upon the wardens of several facilities for documents and other information, and has informed the Court that additional inmates will soon be named in an amended complaint. Continue reading »

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Mar 27

The Rapiscan Secure 1000 has been called a “virtual strip search.” It shows a person’s private parts but obscures the face. Bush’s Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff heads the so-called full body scanner lobby.

In Illinois, federal judges have allowed at least two lawsuits to proceed against correctional officials for using full body scanners to reveal the anatomy of both prisoners and visitors without removing their clothing. This is the very same device that airports are seeking to implement on some inbound flights to the United States.

The cases of Young v. County of Cook, 2009 U.S. Dist. Lexis 64404(N.D. 111.), and Zboralshi v. Monohan, 616 Supp.2d 792, 798 (2006, N.D. Ill), explain, “A Rapiscan is a machine that uses ‘back-scatter’ x-ray technology to conduct a body scan.” There is no significant difference between using Rapiscan and computer tomography (CT scan) whole body scanning.

Despite the clearance of some CT scanners (Rapiscan), the FDA’s website shows that no data has ever been presented to the agency as to the safety of these devices and states that it has never approved these devices as being safe because “some Food and Drug Administration officials were worried that full-body CT screening scans (Rapiscans) ‘may be exposing thousands of Americans to unnecessary and potentially dangerous radiation’ and that CT scans of the chest delivered 100 times the radiation of a conventional chest x-ray … between .2 to 2 rads of radiation during a single scan.” See, e.g., Virtual Physical Ctr-Rockville, LLC v. Philips Med. Sys., 478 F.Supp.2d 840, 842-43(D. Md. 2007) and “FDA Raises Body Safety Issue” by Marlene Cimons in the Los Angeles Times, June 5, 2001.

The Federal Bureau of Prisons officials have been forcing inmates at USP Big Sandy to submit to random computerized tomographic whole body radioactive scanners. If they refuse to submit to these radiation experiments, prison officials are charging them with disobeying a direct order and subjecting them to a wide range of sanctions, including but not limited to loss of good time credits, resulting in an extended time in prison, even if they agree to be subjected to an ordinary visual strip search as a reasonable alternative to radiation exposure from the whole body scanner. These images are saved and viewed by male and female staff and available online to certain civilian populations.

Regulations at 28 CFR §§ 512.11 and 512.12 prohibit the government from using inmates for this type of experimentation and require them to give both the inmates and the public notice of their intent to use inmates as test subjects as well as all of the possible effects related to being subjected to any such experimentation – and then only on a voluntary basis. See also Administrative Procedure Act, 5 U.S.C. § 551(4) and 5 U.S.C. § 553(b)-(d).

Federal regulations also prohibit the use of x-ray, MRI or similar devices on inmates for any reason other than legitimate medical purposes or only when there exists reasonable suspicion that the inmate has recently secreted contraband – and then only by a licensed practitioner in the manner set out in 28 CFR §§ 552.13(b)(1) and 541.48. Continue reading »

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