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Control Unit Prisons

(By Frank Jarvis Atwood)

In the 1840’s, Charles Dickens toured the Eastern State Penitentiary (an isolation prison) and remarked: “I hold this slow and daily tampering with the mysteries of the brain to be immeasurably worse than any physical torture of the body.”

Control units are supermax prisons designed to control the thinking of prisoners through carefully contrived sensory deprivation tactics and focusing of the prisoners’ attention on immediate concerns. It is precisely these strategies that disable prisoners via a psychological, physical, and spiritual breakdown as the means by which to compel mindless compliance. These exercises in demoralization expose prison officials as master manipulators of inmates’ lives; with this control over housing assignments, medical care, food, property, mail, recreation, and other conditions, each prisoner is relegated to government imposed inferiority in order for authority’s goal to be met: the crushing of the human spirit and hope.