Saturday, February 22, 2014

On the relationship between solitary confinement and assaults on prison guards

Might excessive reliance on solitary confinement contribute to serious assaults on prison staff? That's the thesis of union rep Lance Lowry in this item posted yesterday at The Back Gate. Here's a notable excerpt.
The intended use of administrative segregation was to reduce violence on staff and inmates. Unfortunately reductions in violence on staff has not been the case in Texas. Serious staff assaults in Texas has risen with the increased use of administrative segregation. Serious assaults on Texas correctional staff has gradually risen over 104% during the last 7 years. In 2013 over 79% of the 499 reported intentional exposures to bodily fluids occurred in segregated housing areas of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice. None of the exposure assaults involved regular general population offenders.
Most inmates in administrative segregation are often confined to small cells without windows, and little audio/visual stimulation. Such extreme isolation can have serious psychological effects on inmates and can lead to increased aggression towards staff, mental illness, self-mutilation and suicide. Inmates in administrative segregation have little social contact aside from abnormal communications involving yelling at offenders in other cells. Lack of normal social contact breeds increased aggression which increases aggression towards staff who may be the only normal social contact this segment of the offender population has.

13 comments:

FleaStiff said...

Most people who go to Solitary get there over misunderstandings rather than misdeeds per se.

The prisoner who 'takes care of business' without first telling the guard to disappear is the one likely to end up in solitary. The prisoner who marinates an apple in urine and then gives it to a guard may be unaware of an incident wherein a prisoner's sleeve brushed against a guard, but a line was crossed and so solitary is necessary whether its rough or easy.

Anonymous said...

Lack of training and inexperienced officers is a big reason for the high assaults. The state now spends more money locking down inmates instead of properly retaining and training their officers. Texas uses administrative segregation at rates twice that of other states. Hiring a d keeping officers who can properly manage inmates is the key to reducing the over reliance on solitary confinement.

Anonymous said...

I know of numerous recent experiences where TDCJ guards bully and abuse ad seg inmates while the inmates are cuffed (e.g. punching them in the face, tripping them while escorting them…). It is a lot easier for the guards to abuse inmates in a confined section of the prison than it is in general population. This behavior goes unreported or unaddressed by officials when reported yet when the inmate strikes back, people want to make a big deal about the inmates assaulting the guards in ad seg. Incarcerated persons do not deserve to be abused while confined. It is a violation of constitutional rights. In many of instances, each guard who is attacked deserves the attack because of prior continued abuse towards the inmate. So there are issues at hand here besides the psychological effects of solitary confinement.

A note from Mary... said...

There is only so much torment these men are able to tolerate, before they act out even more than what placed them in Seg to begin with. I hope that this thesis will open some dialogue and potentially some serious change in the overuse of Seg as a long-term form of punishment, but for me, it is only stating the obvious.

Sbadefender said...

Well I hope you tried something other than just posting about all these experiences. I can't say it doesn't happen, but I can seen I have neither seen, nor heard about crap like that at my unit.....and these mother fuckers like to gossip. I imagine it DEFINITELY won't be happening after they get the cameras installed.

The Homeless Cowboy said...

Granted, I was in prison - A Long time ago - but Ive gotta say human behavior doesnt change that much over 30-40 years. I never saw an Inmate strike a guard, I was there over 3 calendar years. It was mainly because you knew the beating you would take, if you lived, would be severe. I was in Solitary and not abused by guards as long as I did what I was told, and in solitary the only real interaction with a guard is going in and coming out, so I dont really get why they are being abused. FleaStiff is correct that most people will wait till a guard is not around before committing their special brand of mayhem, those that do not are generally known as stupid or crazy or they just don't care. Those are the scary ones. Ad Seg is used in different ways, there is simple "Rack Up" where the inmate is denied day room privileges for a certain time limits, there are "Overnights" where an inmate goes to solitary after work and gets out in the morning, I never felt like that was punishment. and then there is Solitary, known as "the hole" or "the pisser" or other names that go downhill from there. There are many guards down there,on the units I was on, who do this as a job and do their job without animosity, There are officers who mistreat inmates and for the most part they are weeded out by the career officers after a short period of time. Then there are the ones who will wait until others officers arent present to abuse inmates. Those are the ones you read about. Inmates know that it isnt smart to mess with a guard and they wont do it on a lark. There have to be some pretty dire circumstances to make that happen.

Anonymous said...

I would rightfully imagine that jails and pens are nasty ass places to be..this story brings no surprises to outsiders..what is more amazing to me is the repeat offender numbers. If it is so terrible and the worst evil to subject people to why do so many insist on making decisions to return for repeat doses of it. Do u think they sense some sort of prisoner respect from others or could it possibly be all the fault of society for randomly scooping them off the street and they somehow end up in Ad. Seg..BEST CURE FOR PEEPETUAL SOCIETY UNFAIRNESS IS STAY THE FUCK OUT OF PRISON and finf some other activity other than crime to involve yourself with.

Anonymous said...

To continue from above. I would also not be surprised to find out the vast majority of trips to ad. Seg. R earned by billy badass behavior that probably was similar to the behavior they exhibited on the streets. It's called felony crime and trips to the hole r a level they graduate to. Not surprising that deprivation of visual stimuli or positive human contact for long periods of time could result in one becoming crazy as a shit house rat. Behave yourself in the joint and someday u walk free again hopefully not to start the whole cycle again.

Anonymous said...

Yea, put the wrong one in a box for your personal entertainment and pray that you never ever find yourself on his or her things to do list.

Ask yourself, do they pay me enough to get plastic surgery and relocate and do I really think I'm safe after say 20 or 30 years? Then there are the ones that don't have time to wait to exact revenge and have plenty homeys in & out of prison and uniform in you owe me mode.

Some inmates should go directly into the box and never be allowed out due to their warped crimes. Everyone knows that the non-violent should be left alone by everyone or risk the consequences.

Punishment is reserved for those that deserve it, anything else is poking bears.

Anonymous said...

Fuck you 4:54 and the horse you rode in on.

I wish you would say shit like that loud enough to be heard at a honky tonk so you could get your fat ass handed to you. But we all know you are just a whisperer with a lisp working the doors down at Dorm 16 where they taunt you because your belly hangs over your shinny buckle.

Anonymous said...

Exactly..11:19..I saw some in seg that never should be allowed to live among the free. Animals resembling human only in appearence. Dangerously insane to begin with and insane to their end.

Anonymous said...

Stay away from the honky tonks and get a job and u might not be in pig pen ur in now

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