Da Black Whole

Thursday, May 05, 2005

New and Improved Mancages

California's toughest prison fights notorious image

By Adam Tanner Thu May 5, 9:54 AM ET

CRESCENT CITY, Calif. (Reuters) - Goldwire Jackson long embodied a prison guard's worst nightmare -- an inmate who brutally assaulted officers, destroyed prison property and repeatedly removed his clothes to masturbate near others.

Today, officials call Jackson a success story at Pelican Bay, California's top-security prison in the far northwest of the state, a facility a 1996
United Nations' name=c1> SEARCHNews News Photos Images Web' name=c3> United Nations report called "inhuman and degrading."
"I didn't know how to deal with my frustration," Jackson, 35, said about his 58 offenses behind bars in a 5-year period.

"Some people are psychologically strong enough to deal with the conditions and others are not. It didn't drive me insane; it just stressed me out beyond belief."

Imprisoned on robbery charges, Jackson has spent many of his 14 years behind bars at Pelican Bay's controversial "supermax" prison within a prison. Inmates are kept in cells for all but about 90 minutes a day, when they exercise alone.

gee, that IS progressive!

A decade ago in what is known as the Madrid case, U.S. federal Judge Thelton Henderson found that Pelican Bay guards routinely violated inmate rights and he has monitored conditions ever since. Only last year, he threatened to take over California prisons because of concern officials were blocking investigations into allegations of abuses by guards at Pelican Bay, which opened in 1989.

"A lot of what happened I think early on in the prison was simply a question of, you know, rushing to opening, not having procedures and policies in place to deal with what, at the time, and still, is a very violent population," said Peter Siggins, California Gov
Arnold Schwarzenegger' name=c1> SEARCHNews News Photos Images Web' name=c3> Arnold Schwarzenegger's legal affairs secretary,

"Approximately 50 percent of the staff that was there when they opened did not have prior experience. So there were just a lot of things that kind of came together and made for a real rocky road the first six or eight years."

right, Petey! "poor procedures" are to blame, not the Prison Mentality of our Morally Superior nation

really, it's only a question of becoming more Professionlly Insane...


Officials say they have since fixed many of the early problems and point to the prison's special unit for violent inmates suffering from psychological problems.

"We're much more professional than we used to be," said Capt. Cara Patten, who oversees the psychological units. "The most marked thing that is different with the Madrid decision is that we are providing mental health care to inmates," she said.

Access to care is vital because of the severe isolation of 1,100 inmates at the supermax facility, experts say.

"The problem with Pelican Bay ... is that there is no hope," said Terry Kupers, author of "Prison Madness: The Mental Health Crisis Behind Bars and What We Must Do About It." "The despair just increases the other psychological problems."

Goldwire Jackson is one of 64 inmates in the Psychiatric Services Unit. He is kept alone in a bleak concrete cell with pictures of women in bikinis posted on his walls.

sounds entirely conducive to good mental health to me

i mean, dear god, ninety minutes of free air each and every day, what more do these whiners expect?

"You're standing between the two most hostile units in the state of California," Patten said as she showed off the area. "These inmates are not being tortured. They like it here."

see Big Mama standing Tall over the dogs in her Pound!

they LIKE it there, don't you understand? why, folks from the surrounding counties are purt near pounding at the gates for admittance!

sure makes me feel safer!

Just minutes later guards wheeled out a dazed, handcuffed and shackled prisoner who had cut his wrist.

well, whatta coincidence: the Program is working!

and they say the Goddess is dead ...

The prison wing's design seeks to lessen violence. Pelican Bay offers group therapy sessions but places the men in individual phone booth-sized cages. "They have to be separated otherwise they will kill each other," Patten said.

She said violence had fallen dramatically in recent years. "The major difference -- and I'm not going to downplay it -- is medication," she said, adding that television in cells also helped. TV "is a good babysitter, it really is. They are not focusing their anger on us."

well, they should be -- and on your hypocritical and profiteering System too

and the fact that they're not is a sign of their true hopelessness, capitulation, and terrible "mental health"


Jackson had long resisted medication. He was even charged with threatening a judge during a prison hearing on the issue. He said he was concerned about the absence of an American flag in the prison courtroom.

yah, but the Jolly Roger's Skull and Crossbones was up and hanging proud

Yet he is now able to offer a cogent explanation of his past behavior and says he is less violent and does not hear voices any more. However his bodybuilding frame has softened as well.

"That could be part sexual frustration and an attention getter," he said about his episodes of public masturbation. "It's the reaction that really kind of tripped me out."

Patten said she may soon move Jackson to a less-isolated section for less-violent inmates with mental health issues. A Navy veteran from Delaware who was imprisoned starting 14 years ago, Jackson is scheduled to be released from prison in 2007.

As for Pelican Bay's legal woes, experts say the worst has passed. In November, Judge Henderson commended the California Department of Corrections for working to improve conditions.

Roderick Hickman, secretary of the California Youth and Adult Correctional Agency, recently said the judge's threat to take control of California's prisons -- something that has happened before in states such as Texas -- has passed.

"I don't believe he's going to intervene. I think we've been successful in providing the right kind of management and leadership in the remedial planning process," he said.

but who's gonna remediate you, Fatboy?

forever is a long time


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