Father Daniel Berrigan once said that "writing about prisoners is a little like writing about the dead." I think what he meant is that we treat prisoners as ghosts. They're unseen and unheard. It's easy to simply ignore them and it's even easier when the government goes to great lengths to keep them hidden.
Supermax prisons are used to hold those prisoners whom prison authorities regard as the most problematic in the prison system. These facilities merge the 19th-century practice of long-term solitary confinement with 21st-century technology in ways that subject prisoners to unparalleled levels of isolation, surveillance, and control, usually for long duration, with the potential to inflict significant amounts of psychological harm. Despite a range of academic studies documenting the serious and potentially long-lasting psychological harm it may inflict, and several judicial opinions criticizing the risks it entails and significantly limiting its use, supermax prisons are still in full effect today.
Although there have been no successful cases brought to the Supreme Court alleging the use of supermax prisons being in violation of the inmate’s Eighth Amendment right, one can look at isolated factors that distinguish supermax prisons in which judges at the Supreme Court level have shown to be unconstitutional in general population prisons. This thesis examines the Eighth Amendment implications of cruel and unusual punishment within supermax prisons, through isolated factors through judicial intervention.