From Abu Ghraib to America


Since the infamous photos of abuses at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq first came to light, much has been said about the role that the U.S. military and CIA have played in connection with the human rights violations. But reports of similar abuse in the United States are all too common, which suggests that America's dehumanizing prison culture has now been exported elsewhere in the world.

In the October 2004 issue of The Open Society Institute's Ideas for an Open Society, Justice Strategies policy analyst Judith Greene explores how the "cruel but usual methods of control used by many U.S. prison personnel" are reflected in the abuses at Abu Ghraibl. Greene argues that what is ultimately needed is "a thorough overhaul of the harsh sentencing laws and policies that have driven the prison system to this unmanageable scale."