~ Ohio State Penitentiary ~ Jan 29, 2007 20:07:44 GMT -5
Post by buzzc on Jan 29, 2007 20:07:44 GMT -5
There's no such thing as a good day for a prisoner at the highest level of security within the Ohio State Penitentiary, a 504-bed supermax prison in Youngstown, Ohio. Every inmate lives alone in a 7-ft. by 14-ft. cell that resembles nothing so much as a large, concrete closet, equipped with a sink, a toilet, a desk and a molded stool and sleep platform covered by a thin mattress. The solid metal door is outfitted with strips around the sides and bottom, muffling conversation with inmates in adjacent cells. Three times a day, a tray of food is delivered and is eaten alone. The prisoner spends 23 hours a day in lockdown, emerging to exercise once a day. The lights in the cell never go off, although they may be dimmed a bit at night.
If there's not much to like about the conditions in Youngstown, there's not much to like about the people confined there either. These are the men corrections folks like to call "the worst of the worst," the kind of felons who dealt drugs or led gangs or killed on the outside and continued to do so in prison. For them, maximum security would not be enough--only supermax would do. And say what you will about the draconian environment, it keeps them under control.
Out of approx., 2 million confinees in American prisons just 20,000 of them are incarcerated in what are known as supermax prisons of which there are 31 scattered throughout the country.
Part of the reason we build prisons at all has always been the retributive urge. Those who do very bad things while they walk among us should lead very hard lives after they have been removed. That makes a lot of emotional sense.