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    I too remember the golden era of Russian capitalism when the common man could cruise down to the mines in his Bentley..., 2010-12-10 10:43:15 | Main | there are, after all, trees in that forest..., 2010-12-16 14:50:16

    we've got everything perfectly backwards, ass-end up, hair on fire:

    In Glenn Greenwald's post about Bradley Manning's pre-trial confinement while he waits for his court-martial for allegedly leaking classified documents pertaining to the US invasion of Iraq, Glenn cites the 1890 SCOTUS decision IN RE MEDLEY, 134 U.S. 160, a passage from which reads like an artifact from some ancient, civilized people:

    Solitary confinement, as a punishment for crime, has a very interesting history of its own, in almost all countries where imprisonment is one of the means of punishment. In a very exhaustive article on this subject in the American Encyclopedia, vol. 13, under the word 'Prison,' this history is given. In that article it is said that the first plan adopted, when public attention was called to the evils of congregating persons in masses without employment, was the solitary prison connected [134 U.S. 160, 168] with the Hospital San Michele at Rome, in 1703, but little known prior to the experiment in Walnut-Street Penitentiary, in Philadelphia, in 1787. The peculiarities of this system were the complete isolation of the prisoner from all human society, and his confinement in a cell of considerable size, so arranged that he had no direct intercourse with or sight of any human being, and no employment or instruction. Other prisons on the same plan, which were less liberal in the size of their cells and the perfection of their appliances, were erected in Massachusetts, New Jersey, Maryland, and some of the other states. But experience demonstrated that there were serious objections to it. A considerable number of the prisoners fell, after even a short confinement, into a semi- fatuous condition, from which it was next to impossible to arouse them, and others became violently insane; others still, committed suicide; while those who stood the ordeal better were not generally reformed, and in most cases did not recover sufficient mental activity to be of any subsequent service to the community. ... The article then gives a great variety of instances in which the system is somewhat modified and it is within the memory of many persons interested in prison discipline that some 30 or 40 years ago the whole subject attracted the general public attention, and its main feature of solitary confinement was found to be too severe.

    Solitary confinement is too severe an additional ex post facto punishment, the court is saying, to add to a prisoner's sentence to execution by hanging such convict by the neck until he shall be dead. So they let the guy walk.

    There's something pathetic about a country and a people who will sink to the depths of barbarism by even 19th century standards while simultaneously being total fucking pussies about it.

    Anyway, you should probably contribute to the kid's defense fund, as by the time he stands trial he probably won't be able to contribute much himself to his defense.


:: posted by buermann @ 2010-12-16 13:43:48 CST | link





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