Eddie Conway analyzes the institutional practice of sleep deprivation in California state prisons.
On the average, every normal person should sleep eight hours a day to rest their bodies, be revitalized, and remain literally sane. Experts assert to this fact.
But sleep is in short supply for prisoners in secure housing units in the supermax Pelican Bay prison in Crescent City, California. That’s because authorities have been conducting loud and disruptive cell checks every 30 minutes, 24 hours a day.
Since August, 13 family members of inmates confirmed prisoners have been denied adequate sleep due to 48 guard cell checks per day.
This is just another example of how our country’s massive prison-industrial complex dehumanizes inmates.
Verbena Lea is a human rights advocate with Prisoners Hunger Strike Solidarity, an organization that emerged from the 2011 prisoners’ hunger strike throughout California. At the moment striking remains the hope for prisoners, who feel so deprived from their rights that they claim for the violation of the Eighth Amendment and Geneva Convention and say “the treatment they have been receiving is compatible to torture.”
The warden from Pelican Bay explains the theory behind the checks as attempting to prevent suicide
Instead of providing for safety and order in the cells, the checks are told to create even more tension and cause physical and mental harm. This especially touches upon black prison population, being more prone to strokes and mental health problems often resulting from the lack of sleep.
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