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MCC Is A Massive Systematic Human Rights Catastrophe


As a follow-up, here’s a good story about how the Metropolitan Correctional Center represents the Eighth Amendment being bound, gagged and thrown into the East River:

We know that MCC, the federal prison in Manhattan that also recently housed Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán, was deemed “worse than Guantanamo” by someone who spent time in both facilities. We know that cells are infested with bugs and rats so big they’re “more like roommates” and that the temperature swings from unbearable heat to frigid cold. We know that inmates have not received adequate medical care, that a corrections officers was found guilty of raping an inmate, and that officials allegedly tried to cover up the fatal beating of another prisoner.

We know that solitary confinement, where Epstein was being held, causes severe mental degradation. Report after report has cautioned against isolating prisoners with known mental disorders, and evidence shows that solitary confinement can trigger acute psychosis in people with no history of psychiatric problems. We know the suicide rate in correctional facilities is far higher than the rate in the general public. And we know that jails and prisons are ill-equipped to address mental health issues even as they become our primary warehouses for mentally ill people. More than 2,000 prisoners at MCC and the federal jail in Brooklyn share a single full-time psychiatrist and just a handful of psychologists.

Solitary confinement at MCC, as described by those who have survived it, is especially hellish. In the Special Housing Unit where Epstein was held, the fluorescent lights are kept on 23 or 24 hours a day, prisoners are prohibited from calling out to each other, and the cell windows are frosted to prevent any glimpse of the outside world.

Obviously, it’s possible there was some conspiracy in the death of Epstein but “prisoner dies at MCC because of incompetence and negligence” is a “night follows day” story, not some incredibly implausible outcome that compels elaborate alternative theories

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