The Spark

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.” — Karl Marx

From Wallens Ridge to Abu Ghraib

May 17, 2004

The private prisons run by McCotter's company, of course, aren't the only prisons in the U.S. where barbaric practices occur. Today in Pennsylvania, prisoners are routinely stripped in front of other prisoners before being moved. In the Phoenix county jail, men are routinely made to wear women's pink underwear. At Virginia's Wallens Ridge maximum security prison prisoners are forced to wear black hoods, made to crawl on their knees, and are beaten and cursed by guards. In fact, over the last 25 years, over 40 state prisons around the country have been put under court orders due to overcrowding, brutality, lack of medical care, and poor food.

What goes on in Abu Ghraib might be worse in degree – but it's part and parcel of the U.S. system of justice.

In an interview in January 2004 McCotter said that the Abu Ghraib prison he set up for the U.S. government "is the only place we agreed as a team was truly closest to an American prison." Precisely.