Tag Archives: Supermax

From Inside Supermax: Mentally Ill Prisoners (12 of 18)

I’ve heard quite a few references to inmates who are assumed to be mentally ill and you’ve related a number of anecdotes where you’ve mentioned guys who sound like they are seriously unbalanced. How prevalent is what appears to be obvious mental illness in prison and do these inmates appear to arrive that way or do some become that way as a result of the environment and in Ad-Seg, the isolation? Do you think the system should do something different with those inmates who are mentally ill?

I have read cases in law books where psychologists testify about the psychological harm ad-seg causes upon people. McClary v. Kelly 4F.Supp.2d 195 (W.D.N.Y. 1998) is such a case where two shrinks faced off and debated the ill effects of Supermax prisons on inmates. One of the doctors, Dr. Grassian, testified that every inmate in Supermax “will react to the toxicity Continue reading


From Inside Supermax: How Would You Change the System? (11 of 18)

Through your letters and through interviews with others who are in prison, I have a growing understanding of what life in prison is like and frankly, I can’t understand how anyone can effectively reintegrate into society after years of incarceration after becoming accustomed to such a brutal world. If you could instantly transform the system into anything at all, how would you design a system to accommodate and attempt to rehabilitate juveniles convicted of murder or felony murder so that society would be safe and those with the mental and moral capacity to return to society as assets could achieve that?

Wow, envisioning an effective juvenile justice system which meets both the needs of rehabilitation and punishment is a daunting task. The first step would be to decide from the outset what the presiding philosophy of the system would be – punishment, rehabilitation, incapacitation, or retribution. Continue reading

From Inside Supermax: Juveniles Who Choose Violence (10 of 18)

Having committed very serious violent crimes at a very young age and subsequently, having been acquainted with many other young men who are incarcerated for murder and felony murder, can you draw any conclusions or speculate about the difference between those of you in prison and the teenagers who may flirt with trouble, but who never cross the line and become involved in violent crimes?

From my experience, the only difference I can tell in teens who have been involved in serious crimes and those who have only dabbled in non-violent crimes is situation. The vast majority of juvenile offenders are not hardened criminals. They are not prone to being violent by themselves. But when they Continue reading

From Inside Supermax: The Corrections Staff (9 of 18)

I recently did an eight part series of posts with Jacob Ind, who was sentenced as a juvenile to LWOP and is currently incarcerated in the Colorado State Penitentiary, a Supermax prison. These posts reflect a series of my questions (bolded) and Jacob’s responses.

Jacob has been incarcerated since he was 15. He’s 30 now. The eight part series of questions and answers is quite long, but can be read in its entirety here: from-inside-supermax-feb-08.pdf.

Clearly, inmates have to watch their backs with other inmates and have a very adversarial relationship with the prison staff. Many current and Continue reading

From Inside Supermax: Part 8 of 8

This is the last of 8 posts. Part 1 is here. Part 2 is here. Part 3 is here. Part 4 is here. Part 5 is here. Part 6 is here. Part 7 is here.

You must have run the scenario through your head a million times of what you’ll do if you’re released. What are some of the things you envision?



I think of my freedom All the Time. I daydream about what I want to do daily. When I was younger, my daydreams reflected my youth – I wanted to ride the rails and see the country or go into careers which take years to be established, in like physics or teaching at a university. Continue reading

From Inside Supermax: Part 7 of 8

This is the 7th of 8 posts. Part 1 is here. Part 2 is here. Part 3 is here. Part 4 is here. Part 5 is here. Part 6 is here.

What do you look most forward to each day?


I don’t really look forward to anything in here on a day to day basis. I guess you can say that I look forward to “It Takes a Thief” at 3 PM every day because that marks the point in my day when it very quickly turns into bed time. Each day in CSP is a day I’m just trying to kill. That’s what I hate about mornings so much here. It marks the slowest part of the day when I’m climbing the cliffs to reach the 3 PM peak and can coast my way back down. Continue reading

From Inside Supermax: Part 6 of 8

This is the 6th of 8 posts. Part 1 is here. Part 2 is here. Part 3 is here. Part 4 is here. Part 5 is here.

Based on the circumstances of your home life and then of the murders, anyone would have to believe that you should have received intense therapy in order to try to heal and work through the abuse you endured and also to work through the ramifications of your actions as a result. I’ve been told you’ve never had any kind of mental health treatment at all. Have you taken steps to try to work through these issues in other ways? How have you coped?



I haven’t had any kind of formal therapy to speak of in here. Mental health in prison is concerned with keeping people alive and from hurting others. Being healthy is waaaay down the list. I did receive some help when I was in CSP the first time. This was smack dab in the middle of when I was focusing on being the man I wanted to be, and that included being “normal”. Continue reading