"Supermax" is short for "super-maximum security." It is a place designed to house violent prisoners or prisoners who might threaten the security of the guards or other prisoners. Some prisons that are not designed as supermax prisons have "control units" in which conditions are similar. The theory is that solitary confinement and sensory deprivation will bring about behavior modifications.
In general, Supermax prisoners are locked into small cells for approximately 23 hours a day. They have almost no contact with other human beings. There are no group activities: no work, no educational opportunities, no eating together, no sports, no getting together with other people for religious services, and no attempts at rehabilitation. There are no contact visits: prisoners sit behind a plexi glass window. Phone calls and visitation privileges are strictly limited. Books and magazines may be denied and pens are also restricted for the fact that it could be turned into a weapon. TV and radios may be prohibited or, if allowed, they would be controlled by guards.
Prisoners have little or no personal privacy. Guards monitor the inmates' movements by video cameras. Communication between prisoners and control booth officers is mostly through the vents. An officer at a control center may be able to monitor cells and corridors and control all doors electronically.
Typically, the cells have no windows. Lights are controlled by guards who may leave them on night and day. For exercise there is usually only a room with high concrete walls with one tiny window opening on the ceiling. Showers are only allowed during the one hour that you do not have to remain in your cell and even then you can not take them everyday. Prisoners are confined to a concrete world in which they never see a blade of grass, earth, trees or any part of the natural world. All of these imagines were presented in the movie Solitary Confinement. The movie Solitary Confinement...
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