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Devil's Island Redux

Devil's Island Redux?

Tucked away in the mammoth $238 billion 1997 defense spending authorization bill was a four paragraph section, approved by the House Armed Service Committee, that asked the Pentagon to study the feasibility of imprisoning drug offenders on isolated islands in the Pacific Ocean.

According to the study proposal, remote U. S. military outposts on Midway and Wake Islands, former WW II battlegrounds, would be converted into penal colonies for prisoners convicted of drug-related offenses. The facilities on Wake and Midway are maintained by the Department of Defense as emergency airfields and communication stations. "This is the craziest thing I've ever heard," said Loren Siegel of the ACLU, when informed about the study.

The proposal was introduced by U.S. Representative Richard Ray (D-Ga), who calls it a "keen idea" for cutting maintenance costs at the facilities while reducing prison construction. "Using drug offenders to man these isolated and shark-surrounded islands would alleviate some of the overcrowding of federal prisons and save the Department of Defense some money," said Ray.

Los Angeles Daily News

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