By Charlie Hinton, Verbena Lea, and Willow Katz
In prison isolation units throughout California, guards wake prisoners up every 30 minutes under the guise of suicide prevention. These “security/welfare checks” cause ongoing sleep deprivation. The United Nations and many sleep and mental health experts have long defined sleep deprivationas a form of torture, and sleep deprivation often is used as a torture technique for prisoners of war. So California tortures its prisoners to prevent them from killing themselves.
Dr. Jamie Zeitzer, Ph.D., an expert in sleep and circadian rhythms, concluded in a 2015 report:
“The current practice of 30 minute … checks of inmates housed in the [Security Housing Units] is likely a cause of severe sleep disruption … The mandated purpose of these … checks (i.e. suicide prevention) is, in fact, likely to have the opposite effect and inadvertently increase suicidality in these individuals … There have…
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