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The plaintiffs described the procedure that took place when they left their cells for their exercise period or to pick up their meals. In addition to the two guards posted outside the row of cells, a third guard armed with a rifle was stationed on the catwalk. As the prisoners walked the tier, certain guards would always follow them with their rifles pointed in the direction of the prisoners, sometimes at their heads. The guards would 'click the hammers' of the guns, even though the prisoners were totally confined within their tier and separated from the guards by a locked door at the end of the corridor and by the wire mesh on the catwalk. Several of the plaintiffs testified that the constant presence of an armed guard conveyed to them that they were perceived as always dangerous, and the prisoners then responded in ways that amounted to a self-fulfilling prophecy. Ralph Cochrane told the court, 'they use psychology on you. They try to mold individuals to react their way because it justifies their concept. They play this brain-washing game.'35

Jake Quiring, in speaking of the 'game' he perceived the guards to be playing, voiced a sentiment that could well have emanated from one of Inspector Moylan's annual reports: 'You've got to have justice but all that anybody understands here is violence.'36

There is a perverse symbiotic relationship between guards and prisoners in SCU.37 The guards, by perceiving the prisoners as the most dangerous and violent of men, can justify to themselves the intensity of the surveillance and the rigours of detention. Prisoners, by responding to that perception of dangerousness with acts of defiance, have at least one avenue of asserting their individuality and their autonomy, of making manifest their refusal to submit.38 The treadwheels of the nineteenth- century penitentiaries are no longer with us, but in SCU we have created a psychological treadmill put into motion and maintained by ever increasing hostility and recrimination.39

The plaintiffs gave evidence of acts of harassment and humiliation practised on them by the guards which bespeak the extent to which the normal and admittedly hostile relationship between guards and prisoners was magnified to the level of gratuitous cruelty. Jack McCann described how, on returning from visits, he would be skin-frisked in the central con trol area of the SCU in front of as many as eight guards. He was made to strip, open his mouth, lift up his testicles, and spread his buttocks while officers made degrading and humiliating remarks. He told the court of an officer who came down to his cell after another prisoner had slashed himself and asked McCann if he would like a razor-blade so that he could 'slash up' and join his friend. McCann and other prisoners described provocative acts directed at Tommy McCaulley, such as throwing hot water on him or goading him on the rare occasions when he was sitting quietly in his cell. They gave evidence of guards waking them up in the middle of the night by kicking on the steel doors.40

The plaintiffs related incidents in which they were subjected to the unwarranted and unauthorized use of tear gas.41 Both Bruce and McCann gave evidence of an incident that occurred in September 1970 when they and other prisoners were banging on the bars of the cells because a prisoner who was an epileptic was not answering calls. The prisoners tried to attract the attention of the officer on duty to ask him to go down to the man's cell. The officer came, opened Bruce's window, and sprayed him in the face with gas. Bruce testified that he immediately hit the floor and then staggered over to the sink, trying to splash water on his face to get rid of the gas. Subsequently he developed a severe rash, his skin peeled, and he suffered itching and swelling of his face for a considerable time thereaf ter. His blankets, which were impregnated with the gas, were not changed, nor were his clothes. Miller gave evidence of a gassing incident that took place in 1973. Miller was on a regime in which he was sleeping during the day so as to minimize his contact with the guards. As he was sleeping, he felt he was being smothered. He woke up to find that his eyes were running and that his cell was full of tear gas. He called out and a guard came down. Miller was told by other guards that an officer had accidentally discharged the gas. Miller testified that only his cell was affected and that the gas lingered on for four or five days. Even though it was admitted to be an accidental gassing, he was kept in the same cell and his bedding was not changed. Evidence was also given at trial of several incidents of gassing which the director of the institution acknowledged were not justified by the commissioner's directives. One of these incidents, recorded in the 'unusual incidents diary,'42 reads, 'Inmate 5232 Augustine refused oral medication from hospital officer, refused needle, gas used and inmate given needle.' A former guard called by the plaintiffs testified that while he was working in SCU another guard sprayed gas in a prisoner's face 'as a lesson for the future.' It would be an idle question to ask whether that 'lesson for the future' has anything to do with John Howard's vision of the pedagogy of penitentiary discipline.43

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