"A SuperMax in every state!" Torture technology advances in

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[Control Units] [Wisconsin]

"A SuperMax in every state!" Torture technology advances in

In September, more than 18,000 people from four states attended
tours at an open house for Boscobel, Wisconsin's new SuperMax
prison. Just as the torture techniques of the Illinois Tamms C-Max
prison (see MIM Notes 196) were modeled closely after other U.$.
dungeons, this and other newer Super Maximum security prisons are
replicating and expanding on the Tamms model.

This inhumane project of torture is popular in the small town of
Boscobel. The contract to build the 509-cell prison brought a $44
million boon to the region's budget.(1) Reactionary white Amerika
supports the proliferation of such prisons because they
simultaneously lock up the oppressed and provide jobs for rural

Amerika justifies the proliferation of SuperMaxes within the
booming prison system as a way to allegedly control the worst
criminals. MIM disagrees. The worst criminals in Amerika are the
imperialists because of their crimes against the peoples of
oppressed nations throughout the world. SuperMaxes are certainly
used as a method of control. Many politically active prisoners are
housed in SuperMaxes as a means to deter prisoners from fighting
for basic necessities and organizing against oppression. MIM does
not see that all prisoners in SuperMaxes (or prisons in general)
should be automatically freed, but we see that the current system
is doing nothing to lead prisoners that have committed crimes to
rehabilitate and contribute productively to society.

Amerika's high-tech torture chambers

The Pelican Bay State Prison Secure Housing Unit (SHU) in far-
Northern California is a model among SuperMax builders; Tamms C-
Max in Illinois was built after planning visits to Pelican Bay.
All SuperMax prisons pursue sensory deprivation tactics, though
each puts on localized touches. A prisoner wrote in the Journal of
Prisoners on Prisons: "colors when used, are muted, mostly just
white, off-white and grey. ... Even though the region surrounding
the prison uses local cable television or satellite broadcast,
this prison points its dish at (of all places) Denver, Colorado.
... I suggest that the reason is to isolate us from local

Thirty-six u.$. states now have similar facilities and offer no
pleasantries to cover the fact that "we don't try to rehabilitate
these guys," as an assistant to the warden at the Florence Federal
Administrative Maximum prison (ADX) put it.(3)

The prison is designed to enforce conditions including complete
isolation from other prisoners and from sunlight, a minimum of 23
hours per day in the cell, all concrete and steel furniture, and
great distance from the state's population center (which means
difficult visiting with families, friends and attorneys).(4)

In MIM Notes 83 we reported: "strip status in 50 degree cells,
limited access to reading and writing materials, rare visitor
privileges are normal torture tactics for the pigs."(5)

Who are the real criminals?

According to the State of Wisconsin's public relations department,
"the SuperMax Prison will house the state's most violent inmates
in the state's most secure facility."

If this were true, it would make Wisconsin the only revolutionary
authority in the united $nakes. The most violent prisoners in
Wisconsin would have to be the governor and deputies running the
prisons and police departments. Then, maybe we could also count on
Wisconsin to seize and incarcerate chiefs of Amerikan military and
political affairs when they traipse through on their campaign

In MIM Notes Under Lock & Key in September, a Wisconsin prisoner
reported on the preparations for the new SuperMax: "They are using
all kinds of tricks to put us Africans and Hispanics on what they
call 'Administrative Confinement.' The catch is that they say the
ones on Administrative Confinement have a 75 to 90% chance of
going to this super max. ... I believe the reason for this is to
fill up the super max as soon as it opens. If it is filled
immediately, they can justify to those fools in society the
building of more prisons."(6)

Tourists hail torture as advance

Visitors on the six-day "state fair" style tour of the prison
believe these prisoners are getting more "privilege" than they
deserve in the lower security facilities.(4). The tourists
included more than 3,000 schoolchildren — Amerika's newest
inductees into the reactionary nation accustomed to dehumanization
of oppressed nation members.

The majority who spoke to newspapers about the prison approved
either SuperMax repression or worse brutality against prisoners. A
Milwaukee newspaper reported visitors saying of the SuperMax "it's
a step in the right direction," and "they left their rights when
they committed these crimes." A womyn said that executing the
prisons prospective inmates would be a better use of tax money.(4)

In the land of failure to do simple math and understand the
function of prisons, many visitors to the SuperMax were shocked by
the $32,000 it will cost to house a captive there for one year.(4)
MIM calls this a contradictory stance — a failure to put two and
two together: the University of Wisconsin at Madison estimates
cost of a full year of college at $11,000 per year, including
living expenses.(7)

MIM has long criticized the prison-building craze as part of a
wild jobs-creation program for rural Amerikan labor aristocrats.
In formerly farming or industrial towns, prisons bring
construction and guard jobs — turning a company town into a
prison town.

So what can you do to help stop the vicious spread of SuperMax
prisons and to join in education and activism to End the Amerikan
Lockdown in general? Contact MIM for information on organizing
rallies; educational films, lectures or panel discussions. Contact
us to organize benefit concerts and other fundraisers for MIM's
Serve the People Free Books for Prisoners Program. If more behind-
the-scenes activism is what you're looking for, you can help out
with the Under Lock & Key section of MIM Notes; the Serve the
People Prisoners' Legal Clinic; or MIM's website. MIM leads
projects in these and many other areas along with the work of the
United Struggle from Within prisoner organization and the
Revolutionary Anti-Imperialist League. All these things are part
of MIM's work to End the Amerikan Lockdown.

MC12 contributed research and editing to this article.

1. Wisconsin SuperMax Prison
2. Journal of Prisoners on Prisons, Volume 3, Numbers 1 and 2
Autumn 1990/Spring 1991 http://www.jpp.org/fulltext-v3/v3n12-
e.html "It's a Form of Warfare: A Description of Pelican Bay State
Prison" John H. Morris, III
3. The Houston Chronicle 20 June, 1999.
4. Milwaukee Journal Sentinel 12 September, 1999)
5. Fight the Spread of Supermax MN83 December 1983
6. A prisoner in Wisconsin, July 1999 from MIM Notes 194
7. U. Wisconsin website. Note: this assumes Wisconsin resident
status; prisoners of the Wisconsin prisons are Wisconsin