11 July 2005

Prison Is Supposed To Be Prison

Cross-posted from Stop The ACLU - Ohio
In the event that you were unaware of it, the ACLU of Ohio has been engaged in litigation challenging conditions at the Ohio State Penitentiary (Supermax). It's not that it's unclean. It's not that the inmates are being physically harmed in anyway. This is over the fact that the inmates are locked down for 23 hours a day, get no out door privileges, and no interpersonal contact with other inmates. In other words, they get treated like convicted criminals. They (the ACLU) contend that many housed in the Supermax are mentally ill. I am of the position that if they are being housed in the Supermax, they have done something in the Maximum Security or lesser facilities to be sent to this ultra secure institution. And the mental illness idea is nothing but fabricated mule dung on the part of the ACLU. Substituting a pathological criminal mind with the idea that the individual is mentally ill does a disservice to those in our community that are suffering from real mental illnesses. If it can be proven that these individuals have been diagnosed as mentally ill, then they have no business in the Supermax. But nobody has been diagnosed as such. The 45 goals of the Communist Party which the ACLU is a front organization for, include one that falls into this very idea. "38. Transfer some of the powers of arrest from the police to social agencies. Treat all behavioral problems as psychiatric disorders which no one but psychiatrists can understand [or treat]." Source... The Congressional Record January 10, 1963 excepts from the Naked Communist by Cleon Skousen.
The following is right off of the ACLU - Ohio Website:
Austin, et al. v. Wilkinson, et al.
FACTS: Opened in 1998, the Ohio State Penitentiary, also known as the "“Supermax"” was built to house the "“worst of the worst"” of Ohio'’s criminals, and instead has become a facility that houses inmates who are mentally ill, are there due to procedural snags, or to fill bed space. The inmates spend twenty-three hours a day in solitary cells, and there are no opportunities for outdoor recreation, communication with other inmates, or vocational programs such as those available to inmates at other facilities. Mental health problems often go unchecked, with over forty prisoners on suicide watch and three suicides since the prison opened. LEGAL THEORY: The conditions at Supermax amount to Cruel and Unusual punishment and violate human rights standards recognized under customary international law. The procedures for sending inmates to the Supermax are so vague and capricious that many of the transfers are arbitrary. STATUS: In January 2001, we filed our complaint in U.S. District Court. A class action was brought in the name of select class representatives, alleging a variety of claims, brought through the efforts of eight lawyers, all in cooperation with the Center for Constitutional Rights. Shortly before trial, we concluded a voluntary settlement with the ODRC that will (1) subject the Supermax to two years of medical and mental health oversight by outside expert physicians with the power to make binding changes to prison decisions (2) result in the construction of a four million dollar outside exercise area (3) limit the use of excessive restraints within the prison, and (4) the payment of attorney fees and costs. A four day trial involving three experts and twenty-five lay witnesses was held beginning January 7, 2002. This trial focused solely on the unresolved issue of classification: how inmates get into, and are retained at, the Supermax. On February 25, 2002, we won. Judge Gwin declared that the ODRC system of sending inmates to and retaining them at the Supermax violated the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment - the first time any court has ever declared an entire penal institution to do so. In March 2002, the Court ordered the state to adopt a new set of procedures modeled largely on what we had requested. The state has appealed. Our appellate brief was filed in November 2002. No oral argument has yet been set by the Court of Appeals. In December 2002, we filed motions to enforce compliance with the Court'’s order regarding the revision of the classification process, and the movement of maximum security prisoners into the OSP without the hearings mandated by the Court. A three day trial on that issue was held in March 2003. We prevailed, but were granted only partial relief, while the court strongly admonished the defendants to heed its order to the letter. Monitoring activity is meanwhile ongoing and constant. Over 400 motions and pleadings have now been filed with the court in this case. We continue active monitoring of classification decisions and conduct periodic oversight visits with the medical monitors appointed by the court. Three appeals from our various victories have been taken by the state and all are pending. Oral argument on the first appeal was held on October 30, 2003, and argued by Professor Jules Lobel of the University of Pittsburgh Law School. On June 10, 2004, the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed in part, reversed in part, and remanded to the District Court the appeals of four 2002 appeals. Briefly, the Court 1) found that confinement at the Supermax prison is an atypical and significant hardship, 2) reverses certain substantive changes in prison regulations directed by the District Court, but 3) affirms all of the procedural changes made by the District Court. In October 2004, Defendants filed a Petition for Writ of Certiorari with the U.S. Supreme Court. In November 2004, we filed a Motion in Opposition to their cert petition. On December 13, 2004, the U.S. Supreme Court granted Defendants Motion for Writ of Certiorari and oral argument proceeded on March 30, 2005. We are also currently examining the proposed moving of Ohio'’s "“death row"” to OSP and its relationship to our lawsuit. source
The key word in the above statement from the ACLU is FACTS. There isn't any facts involved other than the security measures in place. Security measures that have been implemented because the inmates have proven themselves unable to be in a General Population environment. Let's not forget an important FACT of this. The inmates in the Supermax, or any other prison, are there because they have committed a crime. A jury of their peers found them guilty beyond reasonable doubt that they comitted the crime for which they have been convicted. So forgive me if I cannot sympathized with these scum. I am of the old school ideas of chain gangs. I think that we allowed liberal politics cloud our judgements into removing them as a vital public service. Chain them all together at the ankles, make them wear black and white stripes, put them to work on the expressways picking up litter. And these Supermax individuals, being locked down in solitary 23 hours per day isn't long enough. What happens during that last hour? They should be penned up then too. On November 18, 1997, an armed suspect shot and killed Ashtabula Police Patrolman William Glover while attempting to flee from a warrant arrest. Odraye G. Jones is currently on Ohio's Death Row for the murder of Patrolman Glover. He started his mental illness defense the day of his arrest for the murder. He would defecate in his clothes and smear it all over the walls of his cell in the Ashtabula County Jail. I for one would be happy to see that monster transferred to the Supermax to await the lethal injection that he so richly deserves. Why he is still permitted to breath is beyond me. He murdered a law enforcement officer. source and my personal experience as a resident of Ashtabula, Ohio and my personal contact with several current and former law enforcement officers in the Ashtabula County Sheriff's Department and the Ashtabula City Police Department. Claiming mental illness is involved with these inmates of the OSP will only serve to prevent services to citizens with legitimate mental illnesses from receiving the care that they need. If the state is forced to provide mental health care for individuals who weren't diagnosed with a mental problem prior to their arrest and conviction for their respective crime, the poor in communities such as mine could not receive needed mental health services due to budgetary concerns. This is another example of the ACLU attempting to strong arm a cash strapped local government, in this case a state. More Storm Trooper tactics.
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