Inmate Disputes U.S. Prison Chief’s Disavowal Of Solitary Confinement


Federal inmates are seething at comments made to Congress last week by federal prison director Charles Samuels, reports VICE. “We do not practice solitary confinement,” Samuels said. “Reading what Samuels said was like watching Bill Clinton change the meaning of ‘sexual relations’ , says Jay Martt, a federal inmate serving 14 years for robbery at a federal prison in Terre Haute, In. “He’s redefining what solitary confinement means in modern times.” No longer are inmates placed into dark black rooms and served bread and water like they were during the times of Alcatraz, Martt says. Instead, those who violate rules, or are placed under investigation, are in need of protection, or have become the targets of disgruntled staff membersare placed in special housing units (SHU). There, they are segregated from the general population and confined to one- and two-man cells.

Samuels denied this, too. “We do not, under any circumstances, nor have we ever had the practice of putting an individual in a cell alone,” while housed in the SHU, Samuels said. “How can he get away with saying such a bald-face lie?” wonders Martt. ” Of course they put guys in single-cells in the SHU.” Samuels did accurately testify that the average stay of an inmate in the SHU is 65 days. “Prison officials like to tell the public and the courts that when we are put in the hole, or the ‘SHU,’ that we get one hour out of our cells every day for recreation. It’s a lie,” said Martt “Sometimes, when the staff feels like it, they might let us go from our cell into a cage that’s the size of two cells combined with up to six other people in it, and we stand around looking stupid. That’s what the BOP calls our ‘one hour’ out of the cell per day.”

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