Indicted billionaire Allen Stanford, who was denied bail because he is a flight risk, is complaining through his lawyers that prison is just, well, icky. It’s hot, “oppressive”, and “intolerable” plus there’s no Internet or computers, and this is just simply beneath the dignity for an important person like himself. Yes, he’s a blowhard and skilled con man.
But, US prisons often are intolerable. Hey, if we get enough jailed billionaires and politicians, maybe we’ll start to see real prison reform. Losing your freedom should be enough punishment, but prisons too often deliberately make the lives of inmates as miserable as possible.
Let me make this clear. My personal feelings are that Stanford is guilty, guilty, guilty. But I take no joy in learning that he, or anyone else in the prison system, is living in harsh conditions. In his case, that’s 10 people in a cage with no air conditioning with a temperature of 100 degrees. What does that accomplish?
I knew a guy who was in a Special Housing Unit in California. That’s when you have no human contact for months, sometimes years on end. Seems like deliberate torture to me. He said when you get out, all you want to do is hurt someone, anyone, anything.
Yes, Stanford is trying to game the system. But that doesn’t mean conditions in prisons aren’t sometimes intolerable.