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Florida Makes Gitmo Look Humane

Ian Manuel, the Florida prison inmate consigned as a young teenager to nearly 15 years in the close confines and brutal loneliness of solitary confinement, is now in a psychiatric lock-up. Meg Laughlin, the St. Petersburg Times reporter, remember hereabouts as a dazzling writer for Tropic Magazine, wrote that Manuel (whose name I muffed in my Jan. 3 column) “is in a mental health unit at Santa Rosa now and writes me a few times a month.” She described him as “a smart kid, a good writer (except the rap-poems) and very messed up with a lot of disciplinary reports.”

Meg wrote the 2006 story about the use of solitary confinement described Maneul’s wretched treatment in the Florida prison system. His treatment was so de-humanizing that the victim in his attempted murder case tried, futilely, to convince prison officials to relent. Laughlin’s story is a brutal and depressing read:

http://pqasb.pqarchiver.com/sptimes/access/1201885521.html?dids=1201885521:1201885521&FMT=FT&FMTS=ABS:FT&date=Dec+17,+2006&author=MEG+LAUGHLIN&pub=St.+Petersburg+Times&edition=&startpage=1.A&desc=Does+separation+equal+suffering%3F

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