Us sedating violent prisoners

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Working with Indiana inmates, they have done a remarkable job in bringing to light abuses within the MCF and the SHU and encouraging the Indiana DOC to correct them.

The management of prisoners who engage in dangerous or disruptive behavior while incarcerated challenges prison authorities worldwide.

Research for the report was undertaken by Joanne Mariner; Jamie Fellner; Juan Méndez, former general counsel of Human Rights Watch and current executive director of the Inter-American Institute for Human Rights; Allyson Collins, senior researcher for Human Rights Watch; Joanna Weschler, U. representative for Human Rights Watch; Gil Chachkes, a private attorney; Professor Garth Meintjes, director of the Center for Civil and Human Rights of Notre Dame University; Terry Kupers, M. Human Rights Watch wishes to thank the many prisoners at the MCF and the SHU who spoke with us freely and extensively.

Fulwiler enabled us to understand the mental health of prisoners they interviewed and to assess the pscyhological impact of prison conditions on them.

But what distinguishes this new generation of super-maximum security facilities are the increasingly long terms which prisoners spend in them, their use as a management tool rather than just for disciplinary purposes, and their high-technology methods of enforcing social isolation.

No longer a matter of spending fifteen days in the "hole," prisoners classified as dangerous or disruptive can spend years in solitary confinement.

Human Rights Watch is particularly concerned that harsher conditions of imprisonment are being inflicted on those prisoners who are least able to cope withthem.

Without guidance and control by principled authorities, super-maximum security prisons can become as lawless as the prisoners they confine.

The challenge faced by the Indiana Department of Correction to securely and humanely confine these prisoners is shared by correctional authorities throughout the United States and, indeed, throughout the world.

The appeal of super-maximum security prisons is readily understandable.

This report was undertaken with the cooperation of Physicians for Human Rights. Fulwiler joined the research team in July 1997 as a representative of Physicians for Human Rights. Cynthia Brown, program director at Human Rights Watch, edited the report.

It was written by Jamie Fellner, associate counsel of Human Rights Watch and Joanne Mariner, associate counsel of Human Rights Watch. Christina Portillo, associate at Human Rights Watch, provided production assistance.

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