Res Philosophica 97 (2):297-324 (2020)

Jessica Wolfendale
Marquette University
Prison as a Torturous Institution Philosophers working on torture have largely failed to address the widespread use of torture in the U.S. prison system. Drawing on a victim-focused definition of torture, I argue that the U.S. prison system is a torturous institution in which direct torture occurs (the use of solitary confinement) and in which torture is allowed to occur through the toleration of sexual assault of inmates and the conditions of mass incarceration. The use and toleration of torture expresses and reinforces the moral exclusion of those subjected to it, particularly African Americans. Importantly, this moral exclusion and the experience of torture may be created and reinforced through institutional practices independently of the intentions of individuals acting within those institutions. By prioritizing torture victims’ experiences and severing the link between torture and intention, my account forces a recognition that, far from being inconsistent with U.S. values, torture is deeply embedded within U.S. institutions.
Keywords Torture  Defining torture  Criminal justice  Prison  Solitary confinement  Racism  Mass incarceration  Ticking bomb scenario
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DOI 10.11612/resphil.1893
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References found in this work BETA

What's Wrong with Torture?David Sussman - 2005 - Philosophy and Public Affairs 33 (1):1-33.
Moral Security.Jessica Wolfendale - 2017 - Journal of Political Philosophy 25 (2):238-255.
"How America Disguises its Violence: Colonialism, Mass Incarceration, and the Need for Resistant Imagination".Shari Stone-Mediatore - 2019 - Critical Review of International Social and Political Philosophy 2019 (5):1-20.
Violence as Violation of Experiential Structures.Thiemo Breyer - 2017 - Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences 16 (4):737-751.

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