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November 13, 2005

Investigative Reports

ďFor me, there is no purer form of journalism than a book. A journalist doesn't have to worry about "sacred cows" or partisan politics,Ē said journalist Pete Earley.

On Saturday evening, I caught part of an A&E Investigative Reports on maximum-security prisons. In it, the confinement conditions of Leavenworth inmate Thomas Silverstein shocked me. Since 1983, Silverstein has been kept in a special, isolation cell─dungeon─deep in the prisonís bowels. Until he received a TV recently, except for the buzzing sound of security cameras, there had been no sound. There is no natural light, and worse yet, glaring lights are kept on him continually. He cannot shave or get his hair cut. Silverstein murdered a prison guard. (His original crime was robbery.) Now, I do think murdering a prison guard or a police officer is reprehensible but so is strapping oneís two babies in their car seats and watching them drown as the car they're in sinks to the bottom of John D. Long Lake. Furthermore, there would be an outcry if mass murderer Saddam Hussein were kept in those conditions.

Journalist Pete Earley was able to interview Silverstein and posted some of the prisonerís drawings on a web site. Iím thankful for investigative reports and the ones on A&E are exceptional.

Posted by NancyGregg at November 13, 2005 8:13 PM


I really think that Silverstein's case should be brought into the light of the American conscience. He IS this generation's "Birdman of Alcatraz." I refuse to believe that any man can be defined by the worst act he has ever committed. I know, from personal experience, that many of the guards that the Bureau of Prisons employs put themselves in harm's way by purposefully and intentionally harrassing and tormenting prisoners held by the Federal government at their various prisons. They've started this process, for instance, by referring to these people as "inmates", the inference being that the prisoners in their charge are somehow mentally ill and therefore, less than human in nature.

Posted by: Thomas Fink at April 25, 2006 6:08 PM

Recent reports are the Silverstein is now in Florence, Co in max. What a shame that he may no longer be held in "NHC" (no human contact) status. These bleeding-heart morons should realize that isolation (true isolation) protects the staff and prevents many riots and uprisings. Let's not forget the victims who have no second chances. We should build more prisons with sparse rooms, 24monitors w/lights and NHC. Quit making these prisons comfortable. The worst of the worst have proven repeatedly they are basic sociopaths and CAN'T fit into society. Fine. Get them out of the mainstream and put them ALL away.

Posted by: Jim Sains at June 28, 2006 7:18 PM

This "man" killed three inmate (sorry if you don't like the word but it's what they are) and a guard. NHC is fitting for sucha person. As far as i'm conserned NHC should be the new death penalty. Lock up these people in a deep dark hole, they are not dead so the "pro-lifers" will be happy. And Yet their life has been taken away.

And another thing. Please stop crying for crimals. they are in prison because they violated somebodies rights, in somecase violated them to death. prison is a PUNISHMENT not a time out. they don't need cable TV, where posible have the inmates work an on grounds farm to produce their own food and take some of the tax burden off of law biding citizens.

Posted by: Micheal Hodgkins at November 13, 2006 4:40 PM