Many prison inmates subjected to cruel ‘contraband watch’ procedure

Many prison inmates subjected to cruel ‘contraband watch’ procedure

California state prison inmates are being subject to cruel and unusual punishment similar to torture, a disclosure made by a former High Desert prison inmate Michael Bloom revealed.

Bloom was imprisoned in 2007 for assaulting a person with a firearm and conducting robbery. In 2009, he was put in a small cage and forced to strip naked. Two officers put a pair of underwear on his front and backwards. Then they taped wrapped the tape around his waist, ankles and thighs several times.

Then they put a jumpsuit on him and taped it the same way and also chained his legs one another at the ankles, with his wrists tied to a chain around his waist. They left him shackled even at night as he was trying to sleep. His chains were cutting into his waist and wrists.

Recalling the painful experience, he said, "By the second day I was already getting sores on my ankles since the leg cuffs were cutting into my skin. At times I wanted to separate my legs use all my strength to do it but the cuffs just dug deeper into my ankles."

Bloom is one of hundreds of inmates who were subjected to "contraband surveillance watch" in California. The so-called contraband surveillance watch is a routine procedure that authorities claim is necessary to check the smuggling of illegal items like drugs and weapons into the jail as many prisoners smuggle such items by putting them in their digestive tracts.

But, critics have long been condemning the use of this controversial procedure, arguing that it is a sort of torture. Records show that prisoners underwent the cruel procedure more than 524 times last year in the state.

When contacted, California's corrections department declined to comment on 33-year-old Bloom's case.

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