Saturday, November 09, 2013

Thought Crimes, Welcome to the Brave New World

There's a growing trend, fortunately still confined to the United States (for now), of inflicting inhumane punishment on prison inmates caught committing thought crimes.

Segregation cells in American prisons are rapidly filling up with inmates who think what their guards don't like.  While there are plenty of accounts available, the story of Illinois inmate, Mark "Migs" Neiweem is a good starting point.

A belief in anarchism is about all it took for Migs to be railroaded into a stretch in solitary.

Mark "Migs" Neiweem is a prisoner at the maximum security Pontiac Correctional Center who, in addition to the publications and his writings about the prison industrial complex, was also found in possession of anarchist symbols including a "Circle A" and "Circle E" (the latter, which stands for equality, is described in prison reports as representing "class warfare, the 99%").

"I've been doing this work since 1979 and I can't think of another case where someone has gotten a disciplinary report for something so obviously political as this," said Alan Mills, who is Neiweem's lawyer and a professor at Northwestern University.

Neiweem also had documents in his cell from the Anarchist Black Cross, which the Illinois Department of Correction says is "a political organization and openly supports those who have committed illegal activity in furtherance of revolutionary aims." That's a menacing way of saying that the group writes letters to prisoners and solicits donations so they can buy food from the prison commissary.

1 comment:

Purple library guy said...

Kinda looks to me like he was a political prisoner to start with. So if they jailed him for being an anarchist, not so surprising they also treat him cruel and unusual for being an anarchist.
I guess if you've got the power you don't mind making your opponent's argument.
Anarchist: "The state is brutal and tyrannical!"
State: "Shut up or I'll beat you up, jail you, and put you in solitary!"