Ptarmigan

a grouse with completely feathered feet

1/09/2004

"But in the bizarrely punitive world of prisons, self-mutilation and attempted suicide are rules violations rather than cries for help. Tearing sheets into strips to serve as a noose, for example, is 'destruction of state property,' a punishable offense.

"In Illinois, an inmate at Tamms supermax prison who had begun eating the flesh from his own arm was sentenced to one year in an isolation unit. As stated in the technocratic jargon of prison paperwork: 'Offense: 104. Violation: Dangerous Contraband. Comments: Piece of Glass. Final Result: Guilty. Record of Proceedings: Inmate appeared before the committee to address the charges. Inmate stated: "I'm guilty. I was hungry and I was eating my arm that day. I found the piece of glass in my cell after I busted my light out." Disciplinary action: Segregation one year.'"

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