Will Potter is a renown, independent journalist that recently investigated the most secretive and experimental prisons in our country. One is in Terre Haute, Indiana and the other in Marion, Illinois. These secretive prisons are called Communication Management Units (CMUs) and are home to "domestic terrorists." There are about 60-70 prisoners in the CMUs and most of them consist of Muslims. The guards refer to those who are non-Muslim as "balancers," because they balance out the racial numbers in hopes to avoid any lawsuits. So who are the prisoners in these CMUs? People like Dr. Rafil Dhafir, who violated the economic sanctions in Iraq by sending medical supplies to children there. A refugee named Yassin Aref, who escaped Saddam Hussien's Iraq to New York; as an imam he bore witness to a loan (traditional in Islamic culture). Turns out one of the people involved in the loan was an FBI informant attempting to enlist someone in a fake attack. For this reason, Aref was convicted of conspiracy to provide to a terrorist group. One of the balancers named Daniel McGowan was charged of two arsons in part of defending the environment as part of the Earth Libertarian Front.
Not everyone may be innocent for their "terroristic" actions, and this isn't an article to defend the guilty or the innocent. This is to shed light on a prison in our country that treats its prisoners with very harsh conditions. Prisoners are only allowed 45 minute phone calls a month, compared to the 300 minutes other prisoners receive. Their letters can be limited to only six pieces of paper. Also, visitation is restricted to only four hours a month compared to the Supermax, where Olympic Park bomber Eric Rudolph can have 35 hours of visitation time. To top it off, CMU visits are non-contact, meaning that the prisoners are not allowed to hug their family, friends or loved ones. Instead of giving an opportunity for these prisoners to learn from their mistakes, it appears they are being tortured psychologically.
Back in the 1960's, before CMUs were around, Marion was home to the notorious Control Unit. The inmates were locked down in solitary confinement for 22 hours, because the warden believed this would control revolutionary attitudes. Later in the 1980s, another experiment, including women connected to the weather underground, black liberation and Puerto Rican independence struggles, were held in the Lexington High Security Unit. There, sleep deprivation, restricted communication and constant light were used to hold "ideological conversation." Fortunately, this came to an end when a religious group and human right advocates, such as Amnesty International, came together. Today, civil rights lawyers and the Center for Constitutional Rights have challenged the CMUs in court on the deprivation of the prisoner's due process rights, and retaliating against their protected political and religious speech. If it wasn't for this lawsuit, nothing previously mentioned about the CMUs would have been exposed.
Will Potter has risked his whole life and career to unveil the dark, hidden secrets of America and imprisonment, which ultimately is a huge issue in our country. So why is it an issue exactly? Well, America leads the world in three categories; the number of incarcerated per capita, the number of individuals who believe in angels, and defense spending. Prisons have been a profit system for the government by placing innocent and/or poor individuals into jail. For those unfamiliar with the law system, it's not too hard to understand. These low-income individuals get caught in a hamster wheel of problems in one of two ways. If the individual does not have enough money to pay for a ticket or fine (whether guilty or not) he/she will eventually have a warrant out for their arrest and have to go through more fines and fees. If the individual has to go through probation, he/she has to go through rigorous amounts of difficult time and money consuming classes in order to serve their time for their crime. If the individual violates any terms of the probation or cannot make any payments, he/she will be stuck in the hamster wheel serving time, paying more added fees and fines or potentially both. So does this whole imprisonment system really seem like the greatest solution to stopping or reducing crime, when it actually produces more problems for the citizens of our country? Furthermore, should we have more of these prisons or should we work toward eliminating them?
All facts accredited to http://willpotter.com/cmu/