As if these statistics weren’t startling enough, the US has just blocked proposals to expand prisoner rights at the U.N. meeting in Buenos Aires.
It opposed a proposal that would have allowed a prisoner facing disciplinary charges to be represented by a lawyer, even at his or her own expense. It pushed, unsuccessfully, for removal of a reference to health care being provided to prisoners free of charge – presumably because many U.S. prisons and jails charge prisoners for medical care. (The Brazilian delegation objected to the deletion, and the language remained in the Draft Report.)
The U.S. delegation was particularly hostile to any meaningful limits on solitary confinement, such as a maximum duration or the exclusion of vulnerable populations like children and persons with mental illness.
These delegations really show why the U.N. is so problematic & how it lacks any promise of progress, especially at the hands of the US on the Security Council. Of course, mass incarceration disproportionately affects people of color & the poor, so racial justice must be intertwined with the struggle for prisoner’s rights. Thanks to climateadaptation for the heads up about this story.