Corrections Officials would have us believe that only the worst of the worst are put in solitary confinement but in reality, inmates are increasingly put in solitary as punishment for filing complaints about mistreatment by guard and rape by inmates. Male inmates suffer from sexual abuse by fellow inmates because prison staff allows or even encourages these attacks. Females are raped by guards (or male inmates brought in by guards) and if they file a complaint or write letters to that effect, are put in solitary confinement, many times strapped nude to a cot.

In addition to sexually abused inmates, nonviolent but mentally ill inmates are put in solitary after they found it difficult to conform to stringent prison rules. Even a slight mental imbalance quickly exacerbates in solitary confinement where extreme sensory deprivation prevails. No t.v., radio, writing materials, books, magazines or human contact are allowed. Days, weeks, months and yes, years of this mental torture has been known to cause inmates to go mad, babbling, banging their heads on cell walls, self-mutilation, screaming and smearing feces on themselves.

Suicide in both males and females in solitary is on the increase. Guards also remove inmates who have gone mad by using taser guns and tear gas on them. When these "Extraction Teams" of nine guards extract the inmate, they then beat and stomp the inmate, sometimes to death as in the case of Frank Valdez of Florida whose teeth and eyes were kicked out and all his ribs broken by boots of the guards. Mr. Valdez had written his wife about beatings of other inmates before he himself was murdered.

Another inmate from Pelican Bay State Prison of California was subjected to the mental torture of severe sensory deprivation and when he smeared feces (this is the end result in many cases and is a common occurance) on himself was extracted from his cell by 6 guards and held down for 15 minutes in a tub of scalding water by the guards and a medical technician until his skin peeled off in sheets. Amazingly this man survived his burns.

Solitary confinement inflicts unacceptable psychological trauma on inmates and is a violation of the Eighth Amendment of the Constitution of the United States in that it constitutes cruel and unusual punishment. This is the same torture used in P.O.W. camps and has no place in a civilized society. Please investigate this issue further through the links below and then go to the petition and sign. Do your part to STOP SUPERMAX PRISON TORTURE!

For more, check out these sites:

ABC News....Crime &Punishment IV: Prison of the future

ABC News....Crime & Punishment IV: Ted Koppell gets locked up in solitary


The "Stop Supermax Prison Torture" Petition MACC placed this petition online at on January 16th 2000. It ran 60 days and has been counted and sent to Senator John McCain on March 16th 2000.

Thanks to all who signed the SUPERMAX petition which has now been tabulated and delivered. That won`t end the issue of course but it`s a start and has garnered attention that was greatly needed. Now go out and post the truth about torture in US prisons on forums/message boards. Tell Amnesty International of your concern, tell anyone and everyone of the intolerable conditions in our prisons.

Amnesty International USA url:

The Petition:

To Sen. John Mccain ....

Stop Supermax Prison Torture! In view of your own much publicized experiences as a POW in the `Hanoi Hilton` and having endured 5 1/2 years of sensory deprivation torture yourself, we implore you to speak out on behalf of all U.S. prisoners enduring the same torture in Supermax and other prisons with Solitary Confinement in their `control units`. More and more states are building Supermax (prison within a prison) prisons and converting existing prisons into Supermax facilities, abandoning all attempts at rehabilitation. There is increasing evidence that inmates most likely to be placed in such units are their for nonviolent or otherwise petty verbal responses to guards. Others prone to be place in extreme solitary are the mentally ill, suicidal, or have filed grievances or law suits against the prison.Constant isolation for days, months and years constitutes severe sensory deprivation, inflicting unacceptable psychological trauma depriving inmates of their sanity. This `high tech` torture is shocking and indecent and has no place in a civilized society as the United States purports to be. This is a human rights violation and violates the Eighth Amendment of the United States Constitution in that it constitutes cruel and unusual punishment. As Americans we implore you to adopt this as a high priority issue in your campaign for the Presidency of these United States.

The above petition was signed by 480 people in 60 days......petition finished #1 on Civil Rights & Minority Issues, #5 on Most Popular National Petitions and #3 on Most Popular Discussions. This was out of 2,400 petitions.