Civil rights sedating violent prisoners

24 Oct

"The East Mississippi Correctional Facility is a cesspool," said Gabriel Eber, staff counsel with the ACLU National Prison Project."When you combine solitary confinement, abuse, lack of basic medical and mental health care, and denial of basic human needs, it's a recipe for disaster.His preferred targets were Jews, blacks, and anyone connected to interracial couples.During a three-year spree beginning in 1977, he murdered at least seven people, may have killed 15 more, and wounded civil rights leaders Vernon Jordan and Hustler publisher Larry Flynt for good measure.

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In the United States, the freedom struggle of Black people and the struggle for prisoners' rights have long been intertwined.

We have phased out hanging, the electric chair, and the gas chamber in an attempt to find a way to kill a man or woman in an inoffensive way. One, I believe our legal system and human beings in general are so imperfect that we can never know for certain that we have convicted the right person.

And now we’re trying to find just the right chemical to shoot into a man’s bloodstream to end his life as palatably as possible. Two, the death penalty is applied in such an arbitrary way, and the deck with which it’s dealt out is so blatantly stacked against those with no money and/or dark skin that it can’t be considered “justice” in any remotely meaningful sense. A bullet to the head is a quick and painless way to die, far quicker and more certain than lethal injection, or any of our other historically favored methods. If it seems too much to have someone actually standing there holding the pistol, the gun could be mounted on a stand and triggered remotely by an executioner standing unseen in an adjacent room. That would require some special preparations and clean-up.

– The American Civil Liberties Union, the Southern Poverty Law Center, and the Law Offices of Elizabeth Alexander filed a federal lawsuit today on behalf of prisoners at the East Mississippi Correctional Facility, describing the for-profit prison as hyper-violent, grotesquely filthy and dangerous, "operating in a perpetual state of crisis" where prisoners are at "grave risk of death and loss of limbs" and often resort to setting fires to receive medical attention.

The facility, located in Meridian, Miss., is supposed to provide intensive treatment to the state's prisoners with severe psychiatric disabilities, many of whom are locked down in long-term solitary confinement.