Prisoners in this country have been put away, silenced, beaten, sadistically tormented, and most of all forgotten — frequently enough for their entire lives. They have been relegated to conditions and circumstances and physical degradation that shame us as well as them and that no one wants to recognize even though the failure in recognition defines a part of us.
No human being deserves that much punishment. The dignity of every life has to mean more than someone else’s indifferent, much less vindictive, control over it. Anything less is a deprivation for all concerned. The American justice system claims that incarceration and loss of freedom are enough of a punishment. It needs to turn that claim into the truth instead of the lie that lives and breathes in every prison in the country.
—Robert A Ferguson
Inferno: An Anatomy of American Punishment