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July 11, 2012

San Quentin Group Therapy?? The Oxymoron of the Century

This is not only one of the saddest, damning and most ironic photos I’ve ever seen, but it’s a process I, as a clinical psychologist, would refuse to participate in. The photo was taken by Reuters photographer Lucy Nicholson who, according to the post and larger photo set at MSNBC, was afforded rare access to the San Quentin prison. The caption:

Administrative segregation prisoners take part in a group therapy session at San Quentin state prison in San Quentin, California, on June 8, 2012. All photos made available to on July 11, 2012.

I don’t care how dangerous these guys are, there must be some way to insure safety (and crucial dignity) in a therapy process that doesn’t involve “sharing” through a cage.

(photo: Lucy Nicholson/Reuters)

  • quincyscott

    George Orwell himself could not have conceived of a more ridiculous scenario.

  • BamaGuy1024

    The absurdity of American culture during a time of insane paranoia (I have just traveled internationally and believe me the TSA and Homeland Security lunacy for air travelers is almost comic). Who thought that phonebooth size cages was a good solution to fears of occasional inmate on inmate violence? Or do they just want the armed guards to be superfluous? 

    • Anon coward

      Simple and obvious. There are at least 6 prisoners, which means at least 6guards would be needed (weapons are no good if you can’t use them, and these prisoners probably have little to lose, so using a weapon on a guard or another prisoner would be nothing to them.)

      Otoh, the guards know that serious injury or death to another human could destroy their life.

      So because we cannot have 6 guards (prisons are cash-strapped), these cages are used.

      Michael Shaw didn’t say what what his alternative would be

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  • Ph0enixInferno

    This is what happens when your system and culture dehumanize and don’t care about true rehabilitation.

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