Supermax Psych: “Behavior Modification” at Marion Federal Prison

by James Ridgeway and Jean Casella at Solitary Watch

“Eddie Griffin, a former Civil Rights Movement activist and Black Panther, spent 12 years in federal prison for bank robbery, beginning in the early 1970s. After he was injured doing prison labor at Terre Haute Federal Prison, and refused to return to work under unsafe conditions, he was labelled “incorrigible” and transferred to the U.S. Penitentiary in Marion, Illinois.

Built to replace Alcatraz in 1963, Marion is widely acknowledged to be the first modern “supermax,” and was once the highest security and most notorious prison in the federal system. That distinction today belongs to ADX Florence in Colorado, but Marion is now home to one of the ultra-isolated federal Communications Management Units opened during the Bush Administration.

‘Breaking Men’s Minds: Behavior Control and Human Experimentation at the Federal Prison in Marion’ is a remarkable article authored by Griffin and published in the Journal of Prisoners on Prisons in 1993 (vol. 4, no. 2). (H/T to Alan for alerting us to the piece.) In it, he discusses the realities of the “behavior modification program” instituted at Marion in the 1960s. Griffin begins by describing the control of every moment–and every movement–in the lives of prisoners.”

Read the rest here.

2 Comments

  1. gary boyle

    Was in Marion from 1981 to1983 served 20years on a 35year sentence. I was released 15years ago and still have prison dreams every night. a super max prison is only to torture and confine a person. An animal is treated more humanely in a caged shelter then a prisoner is in a super max prison !

    1. Prison Books Collective (Post author)

      That is so awful! Thanks for sharing your experience.

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