Corrections officers patrolling the tough death row prison in Texas are pleading the state to make conditions more humane for inmates and prevent “daily” threats to staff safety.
Staff leaders say years of solitary confinement and sensory deprivation literally drive inmates mad and make them more likely to wound the guards, riot or attempt escape.
The guards want inmates to be able to share two to a cell and use an iPad or similar computer tablet to watch television on a secure internal network as incentives for good behaviour.
There are almost 300 prisoners at the male death row prison in Livingston 80 miles north of Houston, Texas, who spend an average of 15 years there between sentencing and their execution.
They spend 23 hours a day alone in a concrete, featureless cell measuring six feet by 10 feet with a small, sealed window and a solid steel door, where food is delivered through a slot. They are allowed out to exercise alone in a cage for one hour and may have books, writing material and a radio.
I’m inclined to the belief (and realise that many here will disagree with me) that 15 years of that sort of treatment is a crime against the human rights of said condemned.
From what I’ve read about the UK system before abolition the condemned were treated markedly better than those in the general prison population while waiting for that retribution that was to come.