The United States has the right to incarcerate convicted offenders. But, does it have the right to torment them, drive them insane or impose conditions of confinement that cause extreme physical disabilities?
No, we're not talking about detainees or Guantanamo. We're talking about Supermax at Florence Colorado, often called Alcatraz of the Rockies.
The latest to complain: Eric Rudolph:
Olympic bomber Eric Rudolph laments in a series of letters that the caged atmosphere of the federal prison where is spending the rest of his life is designed to drive him insane.
Rudolph, who hid out from authorities for five years in the woods of western North Carolina before being captured, says in correspondence with a Colorado newspaper that his surroundings at the Supermax prison are getting to him.
"It is a closed-off world designed to isolate inmates from social and environmental stimuli, with the ultimate purpose of causing mental illness and chronic physical conditions such as diabetes, heart disease and arthritis," he wrote in one letter to The Gazette of Colorado Springs.
Rudolph wrote that he spends 23 hours a day in his 7-by-12-foot cell, adding that his only exercise is in an enclosed area he described as a "large empty swimming pool" divided into "dog-kennel style cages."
"Using solitary confinement, Supermax is designed to inflict as much misery and pain as is constitutionally permissible," he wrote.