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Calling Solitary Confinement 'Government Torture,' Ocasio-Cortez Says 'Release Everyone'

Originally published at http://www.commondreams.org/news/2019/06/05/calling-solitary-confinement-government-torture-ocasio-cortez-says-release-everyone

AOC is great. So refreshing to have her voice in congress. Torture in US prisons goes well beyond solitary.


Yes…kudos to AOC, as I felt the same when reading the NYTimes piece which specifically stated “solitary confinement”. - I’d like to hear the difference between that and “held in isolation”. I’ll bet there’s not much.

The following article alleges that solitary confinement for as little as fifteen (15) days amounts to torture:

Opinion: Ecuador’s Solitary Confinement Of Assange Is Torture – Apr 16, 2018 - Elizabeth Vos - DIsobedientMedia

Manning also cited the sentiments of Juan Mendez in her op-ed, with Mendez acknowledging that the harmful effects of solitary confinement can become permanent after as little as fifteen days , a length of which Julian Assange has just eclipsed:

“Prolonged solitary confinement raises special concerns, because the risk of grave and irreparable harm to the detained person increases with the length of isolation and the uncertainty regarding its duration. In my public declarations on this theme, I have defined prolonged solitary confinement as any period in excess of 15 days. This definition reflects the fact that most of the scientific literature shows that, after 15 days, certain changes in brain functions occur and the harmful psychological effects of isolation can become irreversible.”

This position was borne out by Rick Raemisch, head of the Colorado Department of Corrections. Raemisch described his experience of just twenty hours in solitary confinement in The New York Times, relating: “Eventually, I broke a promise to myself and asked an officer what time it was. 11:10 a.m. I felt as if I’d been there for days. I sat with my mind. How long would it take before Ad Seg chipped that away? I don’t know, but I’m confident that it would be a battle I would lose.”

Horrifically, what Raemisch describes entails the deterioration of his perception of time while in solitary confinement for less than 24 hours. This effect is apparent when Raemisch recounts asking a guard for the time, despite having promised himself not to do so. That the head of the Colorado Department of Corrections would experience not only the distortion of time but also the awareness of an impending loss of sanity within such a brief timespan is particularly ominous.