Friday, May 29, 2015

Cruel and unusual, American style

Cruel and unusual, American style

So you remember Shane Bauer, right? He was one of the three American hikers who was swooped up on the Iranian border in 2009 and who spent 26 months in an Iranian prisoner. He's also a young and very good investigative journalist, so who better to take a look at how prisoners are treated here in the U.S. of A., especially when it comes to solitary confinement.

The comparison is pretty much what you would expect...if you've been paying attention:

I want to answer his question—of course my experience was different from those of the men at  California's Pelican Bay State Prison—but I'm not sure how to do it. How do you compare, when the difference between one person's stability and another's insanity is found in tiny details? Do I point out that I had a mattress, and they have thin pieces of foam; that the concrete open-air cell I exercised in was twice the size of the "dog run" at Pelican Bay, which is about 16 by 25 feet; that I got 15 minutes of phone calls in 26 months, and they get none; that I couldn't write letters, but they can; that we could only talk to nearby prisoners in secret, but they can shout to each other without being punished; that unlike where I was imprisoned, whoever lives here has to [s---] at the front of his cell, in view of the guards?

Please read the whole thing...and please stay out of trouble.

(Blogger's note: A little tied up with newspaper reporting, so blogging will be light.)

About this blog
Will Bunch, a senior writer at the Philadelphia Daily News, blogs about his obsessions, including national and local politics and world affairs, the media, pop music, the Philadelphia Phillies, soccer and other sports, not necessarily in that order.


...but not with racial slurs, potentially libelous allegations, obscenities or other juvenile noise. Such comments will, at our discretion, be deleted in their entirety, and repeat offenders will be blocked from commenting. ALSO: Any commenter advocating killing any government official will be immediately banned.

Reach Will at

Will Bunch
Also on
letter icon Newsletter