“Does solitary confinement at Tamms meet definition of torture? U.N. panel seeks probe” @ BND.com

Posted on June 11, 2012

GEORGE PAWLACZYK AND BETH HUNDSDORFER — June 10, 2012: “Despite uncertainty about whether the Tamms Correctional Center will continue to operate, a United Nations committee is expected to make a decision this week about whether to seek permission from the U.S. State Department to investigate solitary confinement at the supermax prison to see if it meets the international definition of torture.

Many Tamms inmates, including the mentally ill, have been held in isolation at the relatively small 180-prisoner lockup for more than a decade. More than a dozen have been held in solitary since the prison opened in 1998.

Juan E. Mendez, the special rapporteur on torture for the U.N., said Saturday that his staff in Geneva, Switzerland, is going ahead with an assessment of Tamms to determine if it should be investigated. The assessment began about two weeks ago in response to a written request by the Tamms Year Ten Committee, a Chicago-based alliance of mental health advocates, citizens and religious groups concerned with prison reform. The group has opposed the supermax on humanitarian grounds for more than a decade………………………..”

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