Posted by: Khepera | Tuesday, 21 April 2009

Gitmo Variations: Our Domestic Prison Industry

The prison industry in the US has been a business for well over a century — from the times of chain gangs and thinly veiled slavery(see the post Slavery by Another Name: The Re-Enslavement of Black Americans from the Civil War to World War II) to this very day.  Like most corporate behemoths, the prison industry is overbearing, leveraging policy & legislation through lobbyists & campaign contributions. Many have heard of abuses at Gitmo/Guantanamo Bay, Cuba & Abu Ghraib, few are aware — or would believe — that the federal and state governments in this country perpetrate far worse against our own incarcerated citizens, guilty & innocent alike.  For those who want to view such an assertion as ‘liberal hand-wringing’, wait until you have someone you know targeted by the pit bulls of law*, and see how far their good name & claims of innocence get them.

This is too often characterized as a ‘local’ or at least state-specific issue, like California, or Pennsylvania, or Angola, Louisiana.  However, once we engage this as not simply a business, but an actual industry — no different in its own way than agribusiness, casinos or porn(not corn) — the scope and perniciousness flexing of agenda becomes much more significant.

Whether in Illinois or elsewhere, as technology improves, more and more wrongfully imprisoned men and women are being released due to reopened investigations, and revelations of insidious and deliberate wrongdoing on the parts of prosecutors, even governor’s offices around the country.  The Illinois was so shamed by revelations out of Cook county, he made wholesale pardons.  One could hope for such an infection of conscience in the lauded state of Pennsylvania, and the subsequent release & resolution of such wrongs as Mumia Abu-Jamal and Leonard Peltier.  But, as the saying goes, hope in one hand, and crap in the other, and see which one fills first.

The enormous — and abysmal– travesties within Wall St. & the banking industry have us so distracted by our needs to provide for self and family that equally pressing issues are largely ignored.  Below, I provide an excerpt of a two part article, with links.  Take the time to digest this — it’s not what you will find anywhere in our general news media.  For the photos & other pertinent info on this article from San Francisco Bay View newspaper, go to:

Nevada Prison Board hearing, Part 1: The most explosive meeting ever


Nevada Prison Board hearing, Part 2: Shocking public comments

Statement by Mercedes Maharis presented April 14, 2009, to the Nevada Prison Board
TO: Nevada Board of Prison Commissioners
Attorney General Masto
Secretary of State Miller
Governor Gibbons

FROM: Mercedes Maharis, MA, MS, MA, Hereford, Ariz., for the record
Lifetime member of Citizens United for Rehabilitation of Errants (CURE), Washington, D.C.
Past director of Nevada CURE
Co-founder of the Spartacus Project
Co-author of the Spartacus Project Report

DATE: April 14, 2009

Good Afternoon,

We have become a nation of prisons, but how are we going to take care of our prisoners? We cannot.

What is the true cost of continued Nevada prisoner warehousing? It cannot be calculated.

Can a Nevada prison sentence become a death sentence? Yes, it can, and in many cases it has.

In the summer of 1971, the classic psychological Stanford Prison Experiment asked important questions: What happens when we put good people in an evil place? And does humanity win over evil, or does evil triumph?

The planned two-week investigation into the psychology of prison life had to be ended prematurely after only six days because of what the situation was doing to the college students who participated.

Guards became sadistic. Prisoners became withdrawn, depressed and showed signs of extreme stress and began behaving in pathological ways.

Here are four examples of sadistic, excessive force inside Nevada prisons that you may not have seen – worse by far than Abu Ghraib. Prison officials have refused to remove the buckshot they had pumped into this prisoner’s back despite the migraine headaches it causes him.

Prison officials have refused to remove the buckshot they had pumped into this prisoner’s back despite the migraine headaches it causes him.

1. Defenseless, beaten, still in prison, now with hepatitis C, suspecting reused needles in the medical department, since he was locked in a single cell for nearly two decades;

2. Defenseless, but shot in the back, unable to get prison medical employees to remove the buckshot causing severe migraine headaches. He currently has an open warrant in Florida. Would we be functional after such treatment?

3. A victim. His only choice to relieve excruciating pain was dental extraction in a Nevada prison, but he was expected to reenter society with no front teeth and get a job. His fate? Unknown.



  1. […] Original post by Khepera […]

  2. Hi, interesting post. I have been thinking about this issue,so thanks for sharing. I will certainly be subscribing to your site.

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