Important Updates Since Publication


Iowa: Two days after the publication of Cruel and Degrading, Iowa Corrections Director Gary Maynard announced the state's prisons will no longer use attack dogs to remove inmates from their cells. According to a prepared media statement released by the department on October 12, "After reviewing cases where dogs had been used over the past 18 months in Iowa's prisons, the state Department of Corrections "has determined that this practice is no longer necessary and will be discontinued effective immediately." Human Rights Watch commends the department for its decision and we salute its willingness to evaluate continually its policies and practices to ensure they are consistent with the state's responsibilities towards those people in its custody. Thee department has retained the option of using dogs in "life-threatening" situations.

Correction and Clarification

Delaware: In Cruel and Degrading, we reported that the Delaware Department of Corrections policy permits the use of dogs for cell extractions but that dogs had not been used for this purpose in the past twenty years. This information had been provided to us by a member of the department's media relations office during an interview in January 2006. On October 12 Stanley Taylor, Commissioner of the department, wrote to Human Rights Watch informing us that contrary to what we reported the department does not use dogs for cell extractions, and that ""this is not a part of our policy, practice or training." We welcome Mr. Taylor's affirmation that the department does not permit or engage in this reprehensible practice and we regret that information provided by his staff led us to include inaccurate information about the department's policy in our report.

Utah: In Cruel and Degrading, based on an interview with a Utah Department of Corrections staff member, we reported that the department's policy permitted the use of dogs for cell extractions and that dogs had been used twice for this purpose in the last fifteen years. On October 12, Jack Ford, the Director of Public Affairs for the department informed us that one of those cell extractions was nine years ago and other was in 2001. Scott Carver, the Executive Director of the Utah Department of Corrections , sent Human Rights Watch a letter on the same day, clarifying the department's policy with regard to the use of dogs for cell extractions. According to Mr. Carver, department policy does not contemplate the use of dogs for routine cell extractions, but does allow staff to use dogs for extractions in certain extreme situations.