Pubdate: Sun, 10 Oct 1999
Source: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (WI)
Copyright: 1999, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
Contact:  414-224-8280


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

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