Try digitalPLUS for 10 days for only $0.99

Readers Respond

News Opinion Readers Respond

Maryland mistreats prison inmates

The Sun's recent editorial ("Torture by another name," July 8) reports the disturbing fact that 8 percent of prison inmates in our state, some 1,760 people, are held in some form of administrative or disciplinary segregation. More incredibly, the Maryland State Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services, while providing this figure, does not keep records to indicate how long the average inmate stays in segregation, whether these inmates are juveniles or suffer from mental illness, or what the recidivism rate of such prisoners is once released.

It would seem that it should be no different for prisons than with other institutions necessary of our society: the climate is regulated by the degree of the community's concern for the common humanity of its members, regardless of who they are. Indeed, it is not hyperbole to characterize solitary confinement and other forms of disciplinary segregation as "torture by another name." Medieval castles accommodated their least regarded prisoners in a part of the dungeon called an oubliette where they were forgotten and left to languish in a subhuman existence of isolation and pain. The writer Fyodor Dostoyevsky, himself imprisoned in Siberia for part of his life, wrote that the degree of civilization in a society can be judged upon entering its prisons.

We pride ourselves on the numerous advancements of our American civilization, but the level of dignity and respect for the human person currently practiced in our prisons in many respects is appalling, and the evils there are directly proportionate to the degree to which we citizens allow our officials and ourselves to forget them, to ignore them and to tolerate them.

Tom May, Annapolis

Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun
Related Content
  • Maryland doesn't hold inmates in solitary confinement

    Your editorial about solitary confinement in Maryland's prisons mischaracterizes how Maryland utilizes inmate administrative and disciplinary segregation ("Torture by another name," July 7). State regulations make it effectively impossible for Maryland's prisons to hold inmates in solitary confinement.

  • Solitary confinement is overused

    Your recent editorial about the use of disciplinary and administrative segregation in Maryland prisons reflects the challenges I have experienced in attempting to secure data about solitary confinement in the state ("Torture by another name," July 8).

  • Torture by another name

    Torture by another name

    Our view: Technically, Maryland doesn't hold prisoners in solitary confinement, but in practice the techniques it uses to control unruly inmates amount to virtually the same thing

  • No dancing on Red Line's grave

    No dancing on Red Line's grave

    Spare us the dancing on the grave of the Red Line by those who have no right to call it a boondoggle ("Red Line was a boondoggle," June 30). We'll never know if it was or not since it won't be built in my lifetime. Certainly, I can't foresee any of Baltimore's myriad social problems improving without...

  • Ban smokeless tobacco from baseball

    Ban smokeless tobacco from baseball

    It is time for Major League Baseball to take a stand and ban smokeless tobacco, period. It is a foul, disgusting and dangerous addiction. It's never talked about until you hear of a player or former player who is diagnosed with mouth cancer or a player such as Tony Gwynn dies from the disease (...

  • EPA mercury ruling was even-handed

    EPA mercury ruling was even-handed

    The Sun's article on mercury limits incorrectly asserts that the U.S. Supreme Court split on ideological grounds ("Justices rule against EPA power plant mercury limits," June 29). On the contrary, the Supreme Court split was one between original intent, honest interpretations of the Constitution...

  • Reimer was The Sun's best

    Reimer was The Sun's best

    Congratulations to Susan Reimer on her retirement. I will definitely miss her column. It was the only thing worth reading in what they call The Sun ("Susan Reimer signs off," June 25).

  • Clean air with taxes, not regulations

    Clean air with taxes, not regulations

    Though the recent Supreme Court ruling against the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's power plant emissions regulations was disappointing, I was happy to see The Sun emphasize the example our state has set by implementing strict anti-pollution laws in the article, "Justices rule against EPA...