Sunday’s Denver Post editorial on Supermax, the nation’s most secure maximum prison in Florence, Colorado, where most convicted terrorists end up, was chilling for a few reasons, not the least of which was this:
ADMAX spokeswoman Wendy Montgomery says the facility’s goal is to “house inmates and protect society.” There is no pretense of rehabilitation.
The second reason is the editorial’s (quite correct, I might add) description of inmate living conditions:
What makes it such stern punishment, experts and attorneys say, is the psychological isolation. By design, ADMAX inmates have virtually no contact with anyone, including guards. In the most secure wing, prisoners eat alone in their cells. Movement between a cell and a tiny recreation yard occurs one prisoner at a time, sans guards and with prison officials operating doors from a secure control area. No contact, no harm is the rationale.
I don’t think anyone disagrees that society needs to be protected from these inmates. But the Post wimps out at the end, with a mild:
As odious as are the crimes of the ADMAX inmates, it’s essential that this strictest of all facilities be operated under reasonable conditions.
Keeping prisoners locked up 23 hours a day without human contact is more than punishment. It is psychological torture. I’m disappointed the Post didn’t say so.