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Prison chief puts himself in solitary confinement

Prison Chief Puts Himself in Solitary Confinement

Colorado's prison chief decided to put himself through 20 hours of solitary confinement. "Fox & Friends" explains why.



'Rick Raemisch, he is Colorado's new chief of corrections. He spent 20 hours in a seven by 13-foot cell. The reason? He wanted to put himself in the prisoner's shoes.'

Raemisch says he wanted to learn more about Colorado's solitary confinement system, also known as "administrative segregation" there.

In an article for The New York Times, Raemisch writes that even though those who are put in solitary confinement have committed very serious crimes, he doesn't think the use of it is justified.

In an interview with KMGH, Raemisch says there are only eight prisoners left in solitary confinement in Colorado. He's making it his goal to cut that number to zero.

'We've come to the realization that you just can't treat people like that. We have maximum security facilities, we have people that are well trained on how to handle dangerous people, yet we feel they're too dangerous to be in the general population.'

Raemisch also told KMGH he experienced "mental anguish" during his 20 hours in solitary confinement.

On average, a prisoner put in solitary confinement in Colorado stays there for 20 months.

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staci March 18 2014 at 3:43 PM

What about the mental anguish that the prisoners have caused the families that they have affected? Do they get a reprieve? We live in a time where the people who have committed heinous crimes have more rights and liberties that people who have not. For those saying that we are treating these people "INHUMANELY", why should they get to have have the basic rights that so many in our country are denied? If you are going to say that only god can judge, at least know that in the bible it states an eye for an eye. The people that are being put into solitary are the most cruel prisoners who have done things that will give you nightmares. These are not new practices and they have been around for quite some time. I stand firm in my belief that the people that are able to commit heinous crimes should not be able to go about their life as if they have not done anything wrong. I have worked in assisted living & convalescent facilities for 10 years, and it sickens me that the elderly are treated worse than the scum that is in prison. instead of worrying about the people that have done the crimes that put them where the are, worry about making the life of someone who has done so much for their community and are in need of great care, exceptional. I also believe that when someone is released from prison, they should have to pay back what it cost to have them there. Why should the general public pay for it when they are not the ones that did the crime???????

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2 replies
whydothat staci March 18 2014 at 4:33 PM

Bible? great fiction but you should read more if you are going to reference the book. You must live in a red state if your elderly are treated worse than inmates. Only poor people go to jail. How do you think they are going to pay it back with $7 an hour job? You have no clue.

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Beckey Neal staci March 18 2014 at 4:41 PM

Because, Staci, when these people get out, and some will, we want them as sane and mentally stable as possible. Solitary does something terrible and if they are not already crazy and mean, they will be when they come out. We don't need that!! There has to be another answer a smart answer, to the solutions of control in prison without killing them or driving them more crazy.

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hark4109 March 18 2014 at 9:44 AM

Sounds to me like he is a "candy ass"! Solitay confinement has a place in the prison, I really don't think he is qualified to run the show there.

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2 replies
jsb6000 hark4109 March 18 2014 at 10:08 AM

I agree. The is a flake.

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kathrynpl hark4109 March 18 2014 at 10:17 AM

In recent years it has been used in increasing numbers. It causes mental trauma. If someone has a chance of release, we should not be doing our best to make them less stable. Then they return to our communities more damaged than when they left? No thanks.

Serial killers, life sentences without parole...that may be a different conversation.

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wgwatkins March 18 2014 at 9:46 AM

I disagree. Imprisonment is punishment for commiting a crime. Solitary confinement is further punishment for infractions while in prison for those crimes. I always thought prisons were for punishment not for rehabilitation. Was I wrong? Maybe not all prisoners deserve solitary confinement and the stats mentioned in the article show that a very small percentage of prisoners are in solitary at any given time. But I also can't muster up any sympathy for those accused of horrific and henous crimes. I worry about the victims, while this guy worries about the criminals.

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1 reply
kathrynpl wgwatkins March 18 2014 at 10:15 AM

I think it is shortsighted to use prison only to punish. Most people in prison are eventually released. Do we want them better prepared to be productive when they return to society? And, people on here are suggesting that everyone in solitary is a violent offender. Not so.

Most people in prison are there for non-violent drug crimes. If you only make the experience as terrible as possible and not allow them to do anything productive while there (such as get a GED, or learn a skill) they will go back into their communities and return to their old life.

We have a higher percentage of our population incarcerated than other Western nations. That tells me that the strategies used in recent decades have failed.

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pressurehedworden March 18 2014 at 2:45 PM

He should put himself in the guards shoes for a week and I'm sure all the SC cells would be filled.

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jdechiara43 March 18 2014 at 10:03 AM

Can't the ignorant bastard understand that his experiment worked. I don't think he wants to go back in there. That should be the reason for punishment. Not letting the inmates dictate what is right or wrong.

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wittlief March 18 2014 at 12:05 PM

1 out of 5 Americans ends up in jail or prison at some point in their life.
NO other country has ever put as many people in prison as the USA
not by total number, or per capita - china does not even come close.

Explain it any way you want, but as a nation, as a society, as a civilization
a nation that puts 20% of its people behind bars
is a total failure!

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2 replies
gmgpjandon wittlief March 18 2014 at 12:22 PM

Oh my gosh! Take away the twenty percent of the prisoners and what would happen to the laid off jailers? Mr. O's labor stats would drop like a rock. Seems like this country's economy is built on prisons, entertainment, security forces and women's cosmetics. Be careful how it's made worth while.

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wittlief wittlief March 18 2014 at 1:05 PM

you are correct.
There are 2,400,000 Americans in US prisons at this moment
the cost per year per prisoner ranges from the low $15k to $80,000 per person in NY state.
in many states you are more valuable to the state in prison ($80,000 per year) than you are as a college educated citizen with a productive job.

The USA was a nice idea, but its time to push the reset button.

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wittlief March 18 2014 at 12:01 PM

sitting in a room for 20 hours is not an ordeal
when you know you can get out any time you want

try it when someone puts you in there
and you have no control over when you will be released.

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photocountry March 18 2014 at 4:53 PM

20 month for a prisoner, 20 hours for the chief of corrections?

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1 reply
Brother Bob photocountry March 18 2014 at 5:42 PM

who had the key to open the cell door anytime he wanted to - he is a joker

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libertysanders March 18 2014 at 10:14 AM

All a prisoner has to do to stay out of solitary is be civilized. Its use should continue.

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ftrday March 18 2014 at 3:44 PM

It is mental, and with him knowing he is getting out in just 20 hours he wouldn't have the same mental strain as someone else would.

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