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When punishment becomes torture. Options
Chazlee
Posted: Saturday, August 06, 2016 1:40:23 PM
Rank: Member

Joined: 7/24/2016
Posts: 364
Neurons: 3,722
There can be no doubt about it, America is a country which is tough on criminals. We incarcerate an amazing amount of people for incredibly long periods of time, even though there is no credible evidence that those being locked-up are being rehabilitated. Actually, rehabilitation has generally become an obsolete word in the American criminal justice system, and common sense and decency also seem to have no place when it pertains to how we treat those among us who have committed crimes and are now being legally punished. I say all this to shine a light on a horrible situation which is currently taking place in a prison in the American state of North Carolina.

"In 1999, at age 25," a mentally ill man, Jason Swain, "was convicted of aiding and abetting a murder." He was given a sentence of "more than 24 years in prison." However, due to his mental illness, he became a disruptive person in prison, and was placed in solitary confinement many times. He has frequently hurt, or tried to hurt himself. However, since he is in a prison, instead of a institution which have staff members who are able to possibly help this man, he has gotten no real help with his condition, except for increased stays in solitary confinement.

Thus, "Swain, who suffers from bipolar depression, has spent more than 4,800 straight days in solitary confinement – a punishment that research shows often makes mental illness worse. He’s rarely allowed to talk face-to-face with other inmates, usually gets only an hour a day out of his cell and hasn’t been allowed to visit with relatives or friends in more than a decade."

Ok, how is this allowed to happen in the USA? Yes, this man is a convicted criminal, but he is also mentally ill. Even if he weren't mentally ill when he went into prison, 13 years locked-up alone and being denied the opportunity to visit with his family or friends for over a decade, is not punishment: it is torture. Why are those people we put in charge of our prisons being allowed to torture prisoners?

I think we Americans need to keep in mind a well-known quote when we are punishing our criminals:

“The degree of civilization in a society can be judged by entering its prisons.” ― Fyodor Dostoyevsky

One has to wonder how people are judging the USA based on the way in which we treat our prisoners.

http://www.charlotteobserver.com/news/local/article93925092.html



Gary98
Posted: Saturday, August 06, 2016 2:56:30 PM

Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 7/23/2014
Posts: 1,554
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Location: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States
Do we still care about what others think about us?
Chazlee
Posted: Saturday, August 06, 2016 4:13:24 PM
Rank: Member

Joined: 7/24/2016
Posts: 364
Neurons: 3,722
Gary98 wrote:
Do we still care about what others think about us?


I know what you mean. With certain public figures, it does seem as if we believe how other nations see us is not important at all, which, of course, it is.

Peace to you.
twinsonic
Posted: Saturday, August 06, 2016 6:46:54 PM

Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 9/18/2009
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Neurons: 1,315
What is more depressing to me, is the comments on the article linked above. Most want to keep him locked up, or put to death. There are many, "Don't do the crime if you can't do the time," and other such garbage. These posters have no concept of what it's like for the mentally ill.
I have loved ones who suffer from bi-polar. Medication, along with good therapy, makes them able to function in society. Kept in solitary, they'd be worse off and harming themselves too.
This country has a long way to go. I had not heard of Mr. Swain before today. My heart goes out to him (even as an accessory to murder); he deserves better.
Chazlee
Posted: Sunday, August 07, 2016 4:35:36 AM
Rank: Member

Joined: 7/24/2016
Posts: 364
Neurons: 3,722
twinsonic wrote:
What is more depressing to me, is the comments on the article linked above. Most want to keep him locked up, or put to death. There are many, "Don't do the crime if you can't do the time," and other such garbage. These posters have no concept of what it's like for the mentally ill.
I have loved ones who suffer from bi-polar. Medication, along with good therapy, makes them able to function in society. Kept in solitary, they'd be worse off and harming themselves too.
This country has a long way to go. I had not heard of Mr. Swain before today. My heart goes out to him (even as an accessory to murder); he deserves better.



I agree with you 100% about the comments people often make, and that is why I often try not to read any comments included with an article. Far too often it seems that people writing in response to online articles refuse to offer any constructive comments. Instead, the mentality of those commenting reflect a deep hostility toward others.

It is good to hear that your loved ones suffering with mental illness are getting the help they need. I hope they never find themselves in a situation like Mr. Swain is in, and I also hope that he gets transferred to a facility in which he can receive proper treatment for his illness.

Peace to you.
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