Friday, May 30, 2008

The Gitmo Effect

One of Matt Yglesias' cobloggers (Alyssa) wonders if the attention garnered by Gitmo and our other extra-legal detention centers have served to deflect attention from prison abuse at home. I had always assumed, though, that the effect ran the other way: I never really though about prison abuse in any serious fashion until the abuses at Guantanamo and Abu Gharib came to light -- and particularly their lack of significant distance from the stuff we tolerate in domestic prisons.

I suppose I might be biased in that I'm the type of liberal hippie who responds to an assertion that our prisons resemble Abu Gharib with a "oh God" rather than a "hell yeah!", but still -- I'd think the public has been moving towards the position that even really bad people -- including terrorists and criminals -- deserve certain rights, and that's due in no small part to the Bush administration's overreaches.


Unknown said...

Well, before Gitmo the domestic prison system got about no political scrutiny... and now, some six years later the domestic prison system gets, um, no political scrutiny.

PG said...

At least with regard to prisoners' treatment of each other, particularly with sexual assault, there already was a significant political movement to address it, although so far it's only resulted in the 2003 PREA (which reflects the extent to which conservatives concerned about sexual assault were more troubled by the homosexual than the assault).