Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Prisoners Being Used As Body Scanner Guinea Pigs

This report by SF Bayview is really not too surprising; disturbing but not surprising. I have read various reports over the years of pharmaceutical companies using prisoners to test their drugs too.

What's interesting is that some prisoners are now suing.

In Illinois, federal judges have allowed at least two lawsuits to proceed against correctional officials for using full body scanners to reveal the anatomy of both prisoners and visitors without removing their clothing. ...

The Federal Bureau of Prisons officials have been forcing inmates at USP Big Sandy to submit to random computerized tomographic whole body radioactive scanners. If they refuse to submit to these radiation experiments, prison officials are charging them with disobeying a direct order and subjecting them to a wide range of sanctions, including but not limited to loss of good time credits, resulting in an extended time in prison, even if they agree to be subjected to an ordinary visual strip search as a reasonable alternative to radiation exposure from the whole body scanner. These images are saved and viewed by male and female staff and available online to certain civilian populations.

Now there may be some dispute over the real amount of radiation that people are being subjected to; the company claims it is one number, and those being exposed to the radiation claim differently. Someone needs to get to the bottom of this especially if millions of travelers (especially frequent travelers) will be exposed to these body scanners at airports. And more importantly - an investigation into this kind of abuse of prisoners in our jails should be made.

This is an issue that definitely bears watching, and certainly deserves more reporting in the mainstream media. (Good luck with that!)