Guantanamo may be the most well-known symbol of government-sponsored torture of prisoners, but the horrors of Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib take place right in your back yard—conveniently hidden in high-walled prisons.
In today’s post we provide some of the facts about torture in the U.S. prison system, along with links to articles and videos that document the torture and its horrendous effects.
- “The US incarcerates more people than any other country in the world, sometimes imposing very long sentences marred by racial disparities.” Human Rights Watch
- Thousands of American prisoners are kept in solitary confinement, a state of extreme isolation and sensory deprivation, which is itself an extremely destructive form of torture.
- Like the prisoners in Guantanamo, some prisoners are driven by desperation to stage hunger strikes to try to bring attention to their inhumane treatment.
- A substantial number of the tortured prisoners, including the ones in solitary confinement, are youth under the age of 18.
- Some of these children are girls
- Their stories are heartbreaking—from child abuse by their families to child abuse in detention facilities.
- Many of the prisoners are mentally ill. Instead of getting treatment, they get tortured. N.B. This video is very graphic and disturbing
Organizations such as the American Civil Liberties Union, Human Rights Watch, the National Religious Campaign Against Torture, and Amnesty International work tirelessly to end torture, including in U.S. prisons. They deserve our thanks and support.
To learn more about torture in U.S. prisons, see Torture in Your Backyard, a powerful video from the National Religious Campaign Against Torture.
Kathie Malley-Morrison, Professor of Psychology