Pubdate: Sun, 10 Oct 1999
Date: 10/10/1999
Source: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (WI)
Author: Marti Sanville

I woke up this morning with a beautiful sunrise shining through the
window and thanked God for this simple experience. Then I thought
about incarcerated people, especially those who will be sent to
Wisconsin's new high-tech dungeon.

Supermax prisons are designed for sensory deprivation and isolation -
a form of torture that we do not allow animals to suffer.

Experience and research have proved the detrimental effect that such
harsh treatment has not only on an individual but also on society.
Gov. Tommy Thompson, Rep. Scott Walker (R-Wauwatosa) and any
legislator who supports this medieval penal system should spend just
24 hours in Boscobel's new prison. Perhaps then they would understand
that treating people like animals will never make them more humane.

The $1.8 billion prison allocation in the budget benefits no one
outside the prison-industrial complex. It would be better to spend
that money on prison alternatives such as mental health and substance
abuse treatment, restorative justice and victim-offender mediation.

Only Russia incarcerates a higher proportion of its citizens than the
United States. If we are ever to have an effective criminal justice
system, concerned citizens must educate ourselves and our legislators
about alternatives to prison.

Marti Sanville,
Eau Claire