February 1, 2000

There are currently more than twenty thousand prisoners in the United States, nearly two percent of the prison population, housed in special super-maximum security facilities or units. Although supermax facilities are ostensibly designed to house incorrigibly violent or dangerous inmates, many of the inmates confined in them do not meet those criteria. Supermax confinement, no less than any other, is subject to human rights standards contained in treaties signed by the United States and binding on state and federal officials.

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