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American barbarism

September 28, 2009

Re "Staff is disciplined after inmate death," Sept. 23

I think your article on the death of 48-year-old Marcia Powell from heat exposure in an Arizona prison should have been run in large type on the front page.

This story, more than the hundreds of others we've seen recently on the subject of torture, reflects an underlying barbarism in the American mentality.

Powell was left for four hours in an unshaded cell in heat so intense she suffered first- and second-degree burns.

The prison had set a two-hour limit on this type of punishment. But should anybody for any reason be placed in a cell such as this for even five minutes? Isn't that torture, pure and simple?

And why was she serving a 27-month sentence for prostitution?

How unnecessary. How brutal. The poor woman.

John M. Boland



The employees at the correctional facility in Arizona should be prosecuted for causing the death of Powell. Placing her in an unshaded cell for four hours in the hot sun -- inexcusable.

Margie McGill

Sun City, Calif.

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