Solitary Confinement in Anchorage CC used to punish prisoners avoiding gangs

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[Control Units] [Anchorage Correctional Complex ] [Alaska]

Solitary Confinement in Anchorage CC used to punish prisoners avoiding gangs

The Harmful effects of Solitary Confinement (or Segregation, as it is called in the Department of Corrections) is well documented and recognized. People held in Solitary Confinement suffer psychological effects that make it harder for them to control their behavior. Rehabilitative programming and mental health treatment could make Anchorage Correctional Complex and many other Correctional Institutions safer.

Putting people in solitary confinement does reduce prison violence, only in the way that Anchorage Correctional Complex, Alaska Department of Corrections allows the gang controlled General Population (GP) mods to force out people with certain types of alleged charges if they don’t pay the gang protection charge (tax) of $500.00 a month or they are beaten up. People that are faced with a choice of adverse affects of gang related violence or solitary confinement usually choose solitary confinement over the Anchorage Correctional Complex sanctioned gang controlled GP mods.

People in solitary confinement segregation are deprived of the programming and social interactions that are needed to succeed and avoid recidivism upon release back into the community. Anchorage Correctional Complex, Alaska Department of Corrections can and should provide treatment, group programming, Religious services and opportunities for social interaction even in the most secure settings which will enable a more successful transition to the community.

Anchorage Correctional Complex (ACC) uses Administrative Segregation Protective Custody as punishment for these people that must request protection from people in GP due to the inefficient control by ACC officials oversight of GP gang operated and controlled mods at ACC. Administrative Segregation Protective Custody (Admin. Seg. P.C.) Adseg 5 people “cannot be guaranteed safe conditions” due to their status within the incarcerated community and therefore are the people that are segregated into solitary confinement as punishment by ACC officials allowing those people that are actually the agitators to continue to create unsafe environments, but they are free from punishment.

Other Alaska Department of Corrections (AK DOC) Institutions have shown that mods for people specifically needing or wanting to get away from gang controlled mods and violence can be housed in separate segregated modular housing units but in a GP style, with programming and social interaction available to those people. ACC officials punish pretrial detainees who request to be separated from the gang controlled mods of ACC, by putting those people into Solitary Confinement, removing their ability for rehabilitative programming, Religious Services, social interaction and a real possibility of re-integration to the community.

ACC refuses to recognize that the people in the GP mods that are creating this situation are the real threat to the institution and are the very ones that should be removed from GP and put into Punitive Segregation. ACC refuses to acknowledge the punishing conditions that solitary confinement poses and are quick to say “if you don’t like it, go back to GP”, then they turn right around and say that “we cannot guarantee your safety in GP.” Their very statements go to show their acknowledgement that they allow the gang operated and controlled GP mods here at ACC.

People in ACC Administrative Segregation should have the same conditions and privileges equal to the GP to the extent possible. ACC officials though, deny those privileges and conditions to Admin. Seg. people as a group punishment for requesting separation from the gang controlled GP mods. ACC officials claim that a Admin. Seg. P.C. GP Style mod will not work, although other AK DOC institutions use Admin. Seg. GP Style mods. ACC claims they can’t mix minimum and closed custody classified people in the same mod. AK DOC P&P 808.09 says that “minimum and closed custody prisoners shall not be housed in the same cell, dormitory or modular housing unit,” but ACC officials put minimum and closed custody pretrial detainees together in the same cells, dormitory, modular housing units as well as in the recreation yard where one officer oversees 20-35 detainees at the same time and ACC officials also put minimum and closed custody pretrial detainees in the Law Library with each other at the same time with a minimum of 4 locked doors between us and the nearest possible responding officer which puts minimum pretrial detainees at risk twice a day for an hour each time, from being locked in the Law Library with closed custody detainees. ACC Officials arguments denying Amin. Seg. GP Style mods are not sustainable in view of their practices of mixing and putting minimum and closed custody detainees together in situations every day that has the potential of the minimum custody detainees being harmed. ACC has two separate Admin. Seg. mods that they could separate minimum and closed detainees between the two mods with medium custody detainees filing in between the two mods. ACC officials refuse to consider this as an option.

Study after study has shown that long term Seg. can cause serious and permanent psychological damage. Pretrial detainees, especially those already diagnosed with mental illness are not supposed to be celled up with or housed with other pretrial detainees that do not have a mental health diagnosis. ACC officials do this all the time, creating the potential for harm to both those with and without mental illness.

It has been found in studies that severe negative effects can occur even after just a few days in solitary confinement conditions. Any time of solitary confinement beyond 15 days constitutes torture, cruel in-humane degrading treatment and punishment. The over-use of Segregated Solitary Confinement by ACC officials is bad for Public Safety.

People who are held in Seg. for substantial amounts of time are deprived of normal environmental stimulation and suffer symptoms such as anxiety, panic, withdrawal, hallucinations, hopelessness, paranoia and depression. This environment can also lead to the development of aggression and rage. These harsh confined conditions of sensory deprivation and lack of human contact have been shown to increase mental illness issues and lead to suicide and other self harm. The misuses of Seg. by ACC officials works against the process of rehabilitating people, thereby threatening public safety. Some of us have been in solitary confinement for 2-7 years here at Anchorage Correctional Complex. For myself, as of July 1st, 2018, its been 3 years in ACC solitary confinement segregation.

Rehabilitation programming and mental health care can make jails and prisons safer.

People in Seg. are denied access to the types of programming that is shown to lead to reductions in recidivism, Segregation conditions at ACC prevent people from sustaining or creating social bonds. The psychological effects of Seg. can be long lasting, preventing people released back into the community from adjusting to life outside of prison. The paranoia and social anxiety resulting from segregation means that people released into the community directly from segregation have difficulties adjusting and are at a greater risk of re-offending and are at a high risk for failure which is bad for public safety. I believe that the officials at ACC encourage failure for the “security” of their own job placement. Anchorage Correctional Complex officials have shown over and over that they have no desire to implement beneficial programming or social sustainment of mental well being in the people that are in their care.

Segregation is too costly to the people held in segregated solitary confinement that are harmed by ACC officials’ actions and to the communities that these people are released directly back into. People in Solitary Confinement should have access to meaningful rehabilitative programming and treatment. ACC officials refuse to open up the Admin. Seg. mods, although at the minimum, they should be seeking ways to increase the amount of time that people in Admin. Seg. Solitary Confinement have outside of their cells and to offer enhanced in cell programming opportunities, out of cell therapies, skill building and social interaction with staff with staff and other pretrial detainees, which are for safe integration to society and the community at large.