|More than 200,000 women are imprisoned in the U.S., and, like their male counterparts, they are increasingly subjected to the cruelly inhumane practice of solitary confinement. But while the devastating psychological effects of solitary have been studied on men, the punishment is uniquely damaging to women in different ways. Last week, the ACLU released its new report, entitled Worse Than Second-Class, about women prisoners held in solitary.
In the report, the ACLU explores five ways that the mostly invisible practice of solitary harms women:
1. Solitary confinement can exacerbate mental illness
2. Solitary confinement can re-traumatize victims of past abuse and can render incarcerated women more vulnerable to abuse by correctional officers
A majority of women in prison report being victims of abuse in the past. The isolation and absence of healthy stimulation or human contact is particularly damaging to this vulnerable population. In addition, many women in solitary are watched by male guards, including during their most private and intimate moments, which is traumatizing in and of itself to victims of past abuse, and makes them freshly vulnerable to being abused. Such abuse would be easy to hide as it occurs well out of sight of the general prison population.
3. Solitary confinement is sometimes used as retaliation against women who have reported sexual abuse or other harmful treatment while in prison. […]
The ACLU also found that solitary is used to retaliate for other kinds of complaints besides sexual abuse. "Carol Lester, a 73-year-old mother and grandmother, found herself in solitary confinement in a New Mexico prison for almost five weeks," the report states. "According to Lester and her attorneys, officials placed her in solitary confinement when she spoke out against her inadequate medical care."
5. Solitary confinement of pregnant women is harmful and internationally condemned.
The United Nations Rules for the Treatment of Women Prisoners explicitly forbids solitary confinement for pregnant women, which both jeopardizes their psychological health and makes it that much harder for them to access pre-natal healthcare. But the U.S. does not seem to think the rule applies here, so pregnant women are still placed in solitary. [...]
Blast from the Past. At Daily Kos on this date in 2007—Playing Out the Clock: Day 1458:
|The White House is coming perilously close to admitting that Bush has no expectation of achieving "victory" in Iraq. He's just playing out the clock to make the problem someone else's. Petraeus's goal for an assessment of the escalation to come in summer is now pushed back to September, and the administration is now committed to downplaying prosects for progress. […]
The only way forward is out. And the idea that Bush will come around to that idea is becoming more obviously ridiculous. This man won't give up on Alberto Gonzales, for chrissakes, what would make him abandon this debacle? His veto, expected first thing next week, will just reinforce his commitment to keeping the troops in Iraq until at least January 20, 2009.
The fight over the Iraq supplemental bill has cemented in the public mind the idea that Congress has set a deadline for withdrawal at March 31, 2008, a deadline they wholeheartedly support regardless of the "symbolic" nature of the vote.
Following an onslaught of opinion polls on Iraq, the most recent CBS/NYT poll has 64 percent supporting a timetable that gets us out in '08, 57 percent want Congress to have the final say over troops levels, and a record 71 percent disapproving of Bush's handling of Iraq.
That public support should stiffen the resolve of Congressional Democrats in the post-veto debate, particularly now that they've set an expectation in the public that withdrawal in '08 is their line in the sand.
On today's Kagro in the Morning show: I know you won't believe this, but the NRA convention was crazy. Greg Dworkin rounds up Donald Sterling news, including Slate's "The NBA's Ownership Society." Thomas Piketty: A summary with marmots. Obamacare as an issue in FL-GOV. And the role of turnout in the 2014 mid-terms. TNR's "How the Democrats Can Avoid Going Down This November." The role of traumatic brain injury in incarceration & homelessness. "The NRA has declared war on America." Remember when the Tea Party was founded on "Where's MY bailout?!" outrage? Well, they've found it!