World Day Against the Death Penalty 2022: “Torture,” post by Bucky (Arizona Death Row)
A road paved with TORTURE
On 10.10.2022 the 20th World Day against the Death Penalty is dedicated to the focus on TORTURE,
… because confessions are sometimes forced through physical or psychological torture,
… Prison conditions on death row are often tantamount to psychological torture,
… Members of the perpetrators suffer trauma through executions or even last-minute postponements,
… the stress of killing a person by execution sometimes leads to occupational disability,
… Victim relatives repeatedly relive the trauma of the crime – in some cases, execution occurs against their express will …
What is Torture? And what is your first thought that comes to mind? A lot of people’s first thought is that of medieval times where torture devices and mechanisms were vaguely used. For instances like being chained up to a wall by your hands and feet and left to rot and die of starvation. Or being laid upon a long wooden table as your hands and feet were being pulled mechanically by a easy pulley system. As the prisoner was agonising and writhing in pain screaming until ultimately his limbs were pulled off of his body meticulously and they bled to death. Or someone being placed inside of a dark dungeon for an extensive amount of time.
However, torture nowadays comes in many different forms, styles, and characteristics. Including some remain the same only just more modernized and prolific. Some of these forms of torture I also personally have endured. You see, I am a death row inmate here in the United States. Many of the readers reading this essay right now may be saying to themselves that well since he is on death row he deserves what he has coming to him. Granted that is correct to a certain extent.
But meanwhile I’m here waiting for my sentence to be fulfilled and be carried out. Nowhere in the U.S. constitution does say that I’m entitled to endure cruel and unusual punishment or torture. Much less that my family, friends, and loved one’s should they ever be subjected to discrimination, bias, and yes, even torture for the crimes I’ve committed and I’m incarcerated for.
In solitary confinement
Beginning with my first incarceration at the young age of 18 until the age of 43, I was housed strictly in solitary confinement for the first 25 years. Not because of my behavior and conduct here in prison, but only because of my death sentence. Here I was given only the minimum amount of socialization and communication with other inmates and even with the outside world. As well as that I was also escorted in handcuffs and sometimes even shackles to and from my cell. I was also even subjected to mandatory strip searches every time I left my cell.
I received only 3 showers a week, the same days as our recreation days. Sometimes you are left there in the locked shower for more than an hour, before the guard comes to take you out and escort you back to your cell. Recreation is conducted in a what is known as The Chute: A concrete enclosure about 20 feet long and 10 feet wide. You are placed there by yourself with only a handball to play with. The roof is of a metal mesh screen so you only get minimum sunlight and fresh air. For the duration of approximately an hour or so.
Once you are back in your cell where there are 10 cells to a pod. And a total of 6 pods to a cluster. Five cells upstairs and five cells downstairs with one shower at both ends of the top and lower tier. Depending if you live upstairs you’ll be able to sometimes see the very little light that permeates through the dirty skylight. Otherwise, you’ll only be glancing through a metal mesh screen door towards a block wall facing your front view.
Especially since there at the Special Management Unit there’s absolutely no window through which you can look outside. The security light stays on all day and all night long. So after awhile you develop a lack of sleep. For the first 20 years we also weren’t able to purchase a fan even though we live in one of the hottest states in the country with the temperatures exceeding well over 110 degrees Fahrenheit during the summer months.
Your meals consists of a cold morning sack lunch for breakfast that usually includes some kind of lunch meat, bread, a slice of cheese, a plastic baggie filled with peanut butter, and a small carton of milk. The supper meal is the only time for a hot meal. That’s usually filled with a lot of starch. Therefore, it’s quite difficult to maintain a healthy eating diet. Not to mention the lack of proper exercise that you are also deprived of.
A health care system that was recently ruled and described by a federal judge as being mediocre. Where many health issues and problems were being misdiagnosed. Simply because it was the nurses who are replacing actual doctors without having any medical experience or training and assessing the wrong diagnosis and wrong prescriptions that ultimately has lead to many unnecessary torture and even deaths. For those who have sustained excruciating pain on another unimaginable level when needless to say that they didn’t have to.
Even though, many times they were told by an outside medical doctor or even a hospital what they needed to do for these inmates to obtain the proper care. But yet they were left to their own demise including that many inmates are now even reluctant to be seen by medical personnel here because you never know if a simple health issue may result into something worse or even death? Because for every remedy their best prescribed medication is to provide you with some aspirin or ibuprofen.
Visitation for your family, friends, and loved one’s is conducted via through a amplified window partition for the duration of two hours. Every visitor must be first pre approved by first passing a background check before coming to visit you. You are not allowed to hug and kiss them. Something that is very detrimental to your quality of life and even your existence here at the prison. Especially when these visits are considered sacred and you also look forward to the time you can spend with your family. As you try to use this important time to help you escape this modern form of torture that in many cases can leave you mentally, physically, and emotionally scarred. And this is what torture is in today’s society and in my reality. Or as I like to say Justice the American Way !
Thank you for taking an interest in reading my essay.
In hopes that it makes a difference?
Death row, Ariziona