Criminal Justic Epaper Essay

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For my term paper, I would like to focus on the aspect of corrections that involves the use of dogs in American prisons. One of the iconic pictures from Abu Ghraib shows an unmuzzled German shepherd straining at his leash a few inches in front of a detainee, who is crouched in terror. Two Army Sergeants have been convicted in courts-martial of using their dogs to harass, threaten, and assault detainees. Yet five U.S. state prison systems—those of Connecticut, Delaware, Iowa, South Dakota, and Utah—continue to authorize the use of large unmuzzled dogs to terrify and even attack prisoners to secure their compliance with orders to permit themselves to be handcuffed and removed from their cells. While the prisoner tries to fend off the dog, officers move in to take hold of him, apply restraints and then remove him from his cell. The use of dogs to threaten and attack prisoners to facilitate cell extractions has been a well-kept secret, even in the world of corrections. It is interesting to note that about two dozen current and former correctional officials who had no idea dogs were authorized, much less ever used, for this purpose. Many were, as one said, “flabbergasted.” In three of the five states that authorize use of dogs in cell extraction, the policies appear to be used rarely if at all. In Connecticut (20 cases in 2005) and Iowa (63 cases between March 2005 and March 2006), use of dogs for this purpose is far more common. In my research, I haven’t been able to find any other source that knows of any other country in the world that authorizes the use of dogs to attack prisoners who will not voluntarily leave their cells. Dogs are often used in prisons in the United States and elsewhere to patrol perimeters and to search for contraband, a use that does not raise human rights concerns. When extensive research was conducted 2005, two additional

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