County Jail in Total Darkness
Bulloch County Jail in Statesboro Georgia has an isolation wing (or control unit) which consists of many isolation cells on both sides of a hallway. The windows on these cells doors facing the hallway are covered by hinged metal flaps that open and close from the outside of the cell. The majority of these cells have no windows to allow prisoners to see outside. In the cells which have a window it is only a narrow slot of glass too heavily frosted and high up off the floor to see out of. The only time officers open the flaps are for 2 to 3 seconds at count times.
Every night at 9 p.m. all of the cells lights are shut off (including in the cells without outside windows). The cells are pitch black until the next morning at breakfast. There is a nightlight function which only stays on when an officer outside of the cell pushes a button and holds it down continuously. As soon as the button is released the nightlight goes back off. This is obviously just to allow officers to count during lights out.
It would probably be easy to modify to allow lights to stay on for prisoners desiring some light to read, write, or move around by. But nobody in the jail is organizing to write grievances on this, etc. Prisoners are discouraged from knocking on the insides of their cells doors or calling out to summon staff by threats of pepper-spray, tasing, or use of a restraning chair. In 2014 I was in this isolation/control unit while some type of inspection group toured the jail and I heard a female visitor/inspector open one of the metal flaps and comment "that can't be right." Yet this practice continued until I was transferred in March 2015.
I read in PARC Prisoner Resource Directory's 2015 issue some "standards for treatment of prisoners" that restriction to a dark cell, as punishment, is a violation of the Geneva convention. And many of the prisoners there are under disciplinary status. Though Bulloch County Jail staff attitudes are that at this jail they do what they want. I have personally seen them take positive remedial action when it becomes known to them that someone on the outside is paying attention to the jail's treatment of prisoners. This is my first attempt to gain attention on this particular complaint. The jail captain is John Staten and his chief lieutenant is Danny Tremble. They have these prisoners "living in darkness" literally.