UN investigating torture allegations in California prisons

October 21, 2013

CMCshadowThe United Nations’ lead torture investigator has agreed to look into allegations that some California prisoners are not treated humanely.

Juan Mendez is seeking access to California lockups to ensure that prisoner’s rights are being protected.

“We should have more justification” for putting prisoners in isolation,” Mendez told the Los Angeles Times.

In July, inmates at the California Men’s Colony in San Luis Obispo County joined a three-week statewide hunger strike to protest long-term, solitary lockup of inmates in security housing units.

Prisoners are confined in these isolation cells usually after some infraction in the prison. They are kept locked in sound proof cells for up to 23 hours a day. Inmates claim the only way to get out is to admit gang involvement or to provide incriminating information on gang members, which puts them at risk.

Some news reports claim that California prison authorities abuse the practice of isolating inmates and have kept some inmates in isolation for decades.

The United Nations torture investigator said solitary confinement should be used as discipline for only the most serious infractions and also that mentally ill prisoners should not be isolated.


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It’s time to return to the penal labor system of corrections and quit warehousing these felons at our expense while they complain about alleged abuse.There are thousands of state funded projects that could use the supplemental labor. Hard labor will make them think twice about how abused they think they’ve been.

Let them eat cake.

So, you approve of U.S. Government sanctioned torture of U.S. citizens? Nothing good will ever come of THAT!

Then there is the matter of public employees breaking the law. That’s okay with you also?

If so, then we have a perfect example of something that is wrong with our community and the dangers posed to our liberty and inalienable rights. Sad.

It is always disheartening to see tolerant most Americans are about government sanctioned torture of citizens. Even worse are those, like some who post here, who condone and promote it and give solace to the torturers and criminals employed by the taxpayers.

Employees at CMC need to step up and start whistle blowing. Unfortunately, there is a culture there that promotes secrecy and “looking the other way” and allows the human rights violations to continue.

CMC employees need to realize and appreciate that not stepping up to try to stop the abuse and/or participating or allowing it to happen is immoral and in some cases illegal, making employees not any better than inmates.

CMC employees need to have the courage to do the right thing.

Most of these prisoners are in cells by themselves because they are the shot callers for the major prison gangs. This is ridiculous!

That is NOT an acceptable excuse for CMC employees to abuse inmates and in other ways break the law. Do you really want members of law enforcement to be able to break laws and not suffer any consequences? Do you really want a corrupt and abusive law enforcement system in our community? Do you really want to promote immorality and illegal activities?

you forgot to add: if you DO want these things, please keep voting for the incumbents in SLO city/county.


Get real, rOy! There is no relevant connection between the two. Absurd comments and frivolity have no place in discussions about torture and illegal activity on the part of law enforcement officers.

Government sanctioned torture of citizens is no joking matter.

The state of California should investigate, not the UN. Doesn’t Juan have anything else to do–like investigate humane treatment by the Mexican drug cartels?

I agree that it would be better if the state was investigating instead of the UN but too often the state defers to the prison system to investigate themselves. THAT is highly likely to produce results like “coverups,” “spin,” “lies” and, as a last resort, scapegoating some low-level employee who was doing what he was expected to do. Just as police and sheriffs need citizen oversight to keep abuses in check, so do prison guards.

You have an excellent point. The IRS assured us they were not guilty of harassing political opponents of Obama, as the NSA told us they weren’t copying all our data and info… Both agencies looked into themselves and found themselves innocent… at least for a time.

Even CAPSLO thoroughly investigated themselves and found no problems with their homeless services division or Dee Torres and her alleged kleptomania.

Government track records for this are pretty bad. Good thing they aren’t going to be in charge of something life-and-death important, like health care. Oh wait.

Citizen says: “The state of California should investigate, not the UN”

Sure like PG&e investigating gas pipelines and capslo investigating itself that will turn out so well.

The only torture going on, is the suffering by the families of the victims of these felons.

Not true! Your comment is absurd. Get real, please!

How about the U.N. take a look at the vast bulk of their members, and indeed their own organization before declaring a low-security, vacation prison on the beautiful central coast a problem… or maybe that’s exactly why they need to investigate this particular one… a nice paid “investigation” in the most beautiful spot in California.

I’ll trust the UN when they can unite nations. How are those Turkish prisons? Or the ones in Mexico/Central America/South America, Juan?

Forgot to add:

Here is Juan’s pedigree, long story short: 18 months in an Argentinian prison = a lifetime of Human Rights activity… well, the “easy” kind (where you just get angry and talk about it and sue while living within the security and protection of the United States, mostly).

So, of course he’ll investigate these terrible conditions the U.S. is known for in it’s prisons! Makes the Arab and Persian prisons look like club med.

The United Nations, like any other democratically formed organization, works best with full participation of all the member states, you get out what you put in.

Dictators and corruption? I suppose that is what is mostly put in…

Keep the UN out of the US… The will come in and tell us how to solve the problem. Look how successful they are worldwide solving problems, NOT, spending our money yes, but not solving problems.

I would tell the UN to go take a flying…

Is that because you want CMC employees to continue breaking the law and abusing people in the most horrible ways? Is THAT what you want in our community?