Montana Shuts Down SHU, Reopens Under a New Name

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[Control Units] [Montana State Prison] [Montana] [ULK Issue 40]
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Montana Shuts Down SHU, Reopens Under a New Name

The Montana prison suppression machine has pulled the wool over the eyes of several prisoner advocacy groups by pretending to disband their security housing unit (SHU) program. It's not actually gone, it's just been given a shiny new title. It's now known as LH1 - AdSeg and LHII - Max population or step down program.

The SHU program started in Montana State Prison (MSP) in approximately 2004-2005, designed to hold validated gang members or violent prisoners deemed security threats. Unfortunately in Montana the only requirement for validation is to associate with suspicious prisoners or interact with known gang members. No activity is required to validate you. Anyone who disagrees with a corrections officer, files grievances, or otherwise remotely questions the capitalist authority is deemed a security risk.

MSP's favorite use of control units is for a growing number of mentally ill prisoners. MSP has no resources to house these prisoners separately so they use long term isolation, trying to induce forced sumission over them.

The LHII step down program is creating jobs for high risk prisoners who would normally never have the opportunity to earn a few dollars, but at the cost of long term isolation for most prisoners who are only here because they questioned policy, filed grievances, refused a pig's order, or are scared by prison life. This does not make for a prisoner who will fare well once turned back to population or society.

So MSP has once again fixed nothing, but it might have fooled a few people with the name change. We must expose the new system for what it is: a renaming of the same long term isolation.


MIM(Prisons) adds: We need prisoners to help us keep our statistics on control units across the country up to date. We estimate over 100,000 long term isolation units exist in the United $tates, but this data is incomplete for many states. If you know about a control unit in your state, write to us for a control unit survey so that you can help us collect this data on torture in Amerikan prisons.

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