FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Is Cameron Douglas’ Life in Danger?

by ANTHONY PAPA

Cameron Douglas – who recently received a reduced sentence (from 10 years to five) in exchange for his cooperation – is now likely to face a very tough time in prison. It was reported yesterday that the information given to authorities by Douglas resulted in his suppliers being charged with drug trafficking. Brothers Edquardo and David Escalera both face life sentences if convicted. Cameron, the son of actor Michael Douglas, is currently serving time at Lewisberg’s minimum security prison camp in Pennsylvania.

From my experience as someone who served 12 years in New York’s Sing Sing state prison – one of the most dangerous prisons in America – I know that Cameron Douglas is in a world of trouble. Once a prisoner is labeled as a “snitch,” their life in prison suddenly changes and is in immediate danger. In prison a snitch is frowned upon and is at the bottom of the hierarchy of prison life. Until this point, it seemed that Douglas was living a pretty comfortable life in the camp at Lewisberg. Minimum security institutions have dormitory housing, a relatively low staff-to-inmate ratio, and limited or no perimeter fencing.

Douglas’s status will likely change as soon as his life is threatened. Once this happens, his entire world will turn upside down, and he will be transferred to protective custody (PC). Protective custody is used to protect victims and to reduce assaults and threats. The worst scenario will be that Douglas will leave his dorm-like minimum security environment for the safety of a cell.

In protective custody prisoners are confined in units that are separated from the general population and they spend an enormous amount of time (sometimes up to 23 hours a day) confined to a 8 x 10 cell in a separate housing unit. This takes a huge psychological toll on the imprisoned individual because of the existential nature of the punishment. You become fully aware of each moment and are left alone to contemplate your situation, which at times is overwhelming and often leads to suicidal tendencies.

These units are stand-alone, which means they contain everything needed to accommodate a prisoner needs. Security is super tight and prisoners are in constant observance of guards. Although Douglas will be safe from bodily harm, his time there will eventually take its toll on him and in all likelihood he will regret his decision to cooperate.

Cameron faced a mandatory minimum sentence in which the judge could not impose a sentence below that minimum unless he gave “substantial assistance” to the government in prosecuting his suppliers. So, in reality, he was put in this position by the criteria set by this country’s anti-drug laws – mandatory minimum sentencing and conspiracy provisions that have bred a culture of snitching.

The use of criminal informants in the U.S. justice system has become a way of life. Preliminary research indicates that up to 80% of all drug cases in the U.S. may be based on information provided by informants. Many individuals like Douglas have fallen prey to the reward of a reduced sentence in exchange for cooperation.

But in the end, the collaboration between Douglas and the justice system may have resulted in reducing his sentence, but it can also lead to tragic consequences for him. I hope this does not happen for the sake of Cameron and his family.

ANTHONY PAPA is the author of 15 Years to Life: How I Painted My Way to Freedom and manager of media relation for the Drug Policy Alliance. He can be reached at: anthonypapa123@yahoo.com

 

WORDS THAT STICK

?

 

Anthony Papa is the Manager of Media and Artist Relations for the Drug Policy Alliance and the author of This Side of Freedom: Life After Lockdown.

More articles by:

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

zen economics

Weekend Edition
March 24, 2017
Friday - Sunday
Michael Hudson
Trump is Obama’s Legacy: Will this Break up the Democratic Party?
Eric Draitser
Donald Trump and the Triumph of White Identity Politics
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Nothing Was Delivered
Andrew Levine
Ryan’s Choice
Joshua Frank
Global Coal in Freefall, Tar Sands Development Drying Up (Bad News for Keystone XL)
Anthony DiMaggio
Ditching the “Deep State”: The Rise of a New Conspiracy Theory in American Politics
Rob Urie
Boris and Natasha Visit Fantasy Island
John Wight
London and the Dreary Ritual of Terrorist Attacks
Paul Buhle
The CIA and the Intellectuals…Again
David Rosen
Why Did Trump Target Transgender Youth?
Vijay Prashad
Inventing Enemies
Ben Debney
Outrage From the Imperial Playbook
M. Shadee Malaklou
An Open Letter to Duke University’s Class of 2007, About Your Open Letter to Stephen Miller
Michael J. Sainato
Bernie Sanders’ Economic Advisor Shreds Trumponomics
Bill Willers
Volunteerism; Charisma; the Ivy League Stranglehold: a Very Brief Trilogy
Lawrence Davidson
Moral Failure at the UN
Pete Dolack
World Bank Declares Itself Above the Law
Nicola Perugini - Neve Gordon
Israel’s Human Rights Spies
Patrick Cockburn
From Paris to London: Another City, Another Attack
Ralph Nader
Reason and Justice Address Realities
Ramzy Baroud
‘Decolonizing the Mind’: Using Hollywood Celebrities to Validate Islam
Colin Todhunter
Monsanto in India: The Sacred and the Profane
Louisa Willcox
Grizzlies Under the Endangered Species Act: How Have They Fared?
Norman Pollack
Militarization of American Fascism: Trump the Usurper
Pepe Escobar
North Korea: The Real Serious Options on the Table
Brian Cloughley
“These Things Are Done”: Eavesdropping on Trump
Sheldon Richman
You Can’t Blame Trump’s Military Budget on NATO
Carol Wolman
Trump vs the People: a Psychiatrist’s Analysis
Kollibri terre Sonnenblume
Marines to Kill Desert Tortoises
Stanley L. Cohen
The White House . . . Denial and Cover-ups
Farhang Jahanpour
America’s Woes, Europe’s Responsibilities
Joseph Natoli
March Madness Outside the Basketball Court
Bruce Mastron
Slaughtered Arabs Don’t Count
Ayesha Khan
The Headscarf is Not an Islamic Compulsion
Pauline Murphy
Unburied Truth: Exposing the Church’s Iron Chains on Ireland
Ron Jacobs
Music is Love, Music is Politics
Christopher Brauchli
Prisoners as Captive Customers
Robert Koehler
The Mosque That Disappeared
Franklin Lamb
Update from Madaya
Dan Bacher
Federal Scientists Find Delta Tunnels Plan Will Devastate Salmon
Barbara Nimri Aziz
The Gig Economy: Which Side Are You On?
Louis Proyect
What Caused the Holodomor?
Max Mastellone
Seeking Left Unity Through a Definition of Progressivism
Charles R. Larson
Review: David Bellos’s “Novel of the Century: the Extraordinary Adventure of Les Misérables”
David Yearsley
Ear of Darkness: the Soundtracks of Steve Bannon’s Films
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail