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

December 06, 2016
Anthony DiMaggio
Post-Fact Politics: Reviewing the History of Fake News and Propaganda
Richard Moser
Standing Rock: Challenge to the Establishment, School for the Social Movements
Behrooz Ghamari Tabrizi
Warmongering 99 – Common Sense 0: the Senate’s Unanimous Renewable of Iran Sanctions Act
Norman Solomon
Media Complicity is Key to Blacklisting Websites
Michael J. Sainato
Elizabeth Warren’s Shameful Exploitation of Standing Rock Victory
David Rosen
State Power and Terror: From Wounded Knee to Standing Rock
Kim Ives
Deconstructing Another Right-Wing Victory in Haiti
Nile Bowie
South Korea’s Presidency On A Knife-Edge
Mateo Pimentel
Some Notes and a Song for Standing Rock
CJ Hopkins
Manufacturing Normality
Bill Fletcher Jr – Bob Wing
Fighting Back Against the White Revolt of 2016
Peter Lee
Is America Ready for a War on White Privilege?
Pepe Escobar
The Rules of the (Trump) Game
W. T. Whitney
No Peace Yet in Colombia Despite War’s End
Mark Weisbrot
Castro Was Right About US Policy in Latin America
David Swanson
New Rogue Anti-Russia Committee Created in “Intelligence” Act
George Ochenski
Forests of the Future: Local or National Control?
December 05, 2016
Bill Martin
Stalingrad at Standing Rock?
Mark A. Lause
Recounting a Presidential Election: the Backstory
Mel Goodman
Mad Dog Mattis and Trump’s “Seven Days in May”
Matthew Hannah
Standing Rock and the Ideology of Oppressors: Conversations with a Morton County Commissioner
Kevin Zeese - Margaret Flowers
#NoDAPL Scores Major Victory: No Final Permit For Pipeline
Fran Shor
The End of the Indispensable Nation
Michael Yates
Vietnam: the War That Won’t Go Away
Michael Uhl
Notes on a Trip to Cuba
Robert Hunziker
Huge Antarctica Glacier in Serious Trouble
John Steppling
Screen Life
David Macaray
Trump vs. America’s Labor Unions
Yoav Litvin
Break Free and Lead, or Resign: a Letter to Bernie Sanders
Norman Pollack
Taiwan: A Pustule on International Politics
Kevin Martin
Nuclear Weapons Modernization: a New Nuclear Arms Race? Who Voted for it? Who Will Benefit from It?
David Mattson
3% is not Enough: Towards Restoring Grizzly Bears
Howard Lisnoff
The Person Who Deciphered the Order to Shoot at Kent State
Dave Archambault II
Standing Rock Sioux Tribe Statement on Dakota Access Pipeline Decision
Nick Pemberton
Make America Late Again
Weekend Edition
December 02, 2016
Friday - Sunday
John Pilger
The Coming War on China
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: The CIA’s Plots to Kill Castro
Paul Street
The Iron Heel at Home: Force Matters
Pam Martens - Russ Martens
Timberg’s Tale: Washington Post Reporter Spreads Blacklist of Independent Journalist Sites
Andrew Levine
Must We Now Rethink the Hillary Question? Absolutely, Not
Joshua Frank
CounterPunch as Russian Propagandists: the Washington Post’s Shallow Smear
David Rosen
The Return of HUAC?
Rob Urie
Race and Class in Trump’s America
Patrick Cockburn
Why Everything You’ve Read About Syria and Iraq Could be Wrong
Caroline Hurley
Anatomy of a Nationalist
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail