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

February 20, 2017
Bruce E. Levine
Humiliation Porn: Trump’s Gift to His Faithful…and Now the Blowback
Melvin Goodman
“Wag the Dog,” Revisited
Robert Hunziker
Fukushima: a Lurking Global Catastrophe?
David Smith-Ferri
Resistance and Resolve in Russia: Memorial HRC
Kenneth Surin
Global India?
Norman Pollack
Fascistization Crashing Down: Driving the Cleaver into Social Welfare
Patrick Cockburn
Trump v. the Media: a Fight to the Death
Susan Babbitt
Shooting Arrows at Heaven: Why is There Debate About Battle Imagery in Health?
Matt Peppe
New York Times Openly Promotes Formal Apartheid Regime By Israel
David Swanson
Understanding Robert E. Lee Supporters
Michael Brenner
The Narcissism of Donald Trump
Martin Billheimer
Capital of Pain
Thomas Knapp
Florida’s Shenanigans Make a Great Case for (Re-)Separation of Ballot and State
Jordan Flaherty
Best Films of 2016: Black Excellence Versus White Mediocrity
Weekend Edition
February 17, 2017
Friday - Sunday
David Price
Rogue Elephant Rising: The CIA as Kingslayer
Matthew Stevenson
Is Trump the Worst President Ever?
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Flynn?
John Wight
Brexit and Trump: Why Right is Not the New Left
Diana Johnstone
France: Another Ghastly Presidential Election Campaign; the Deep State Rises to the Surface
Neve Gordon
Trump’s One-State Option
Roger Harris
Emperor Trump Has No Clothes: Time to Organize!
Joan Roelofs
What Else is Wrong with Globalization
Andrew Levine
Why Trump’s Muslim Travel Ban?
Mike Whitney
Blood in the Water: the Trump Revolution Ends in a Whimper
Vijay Prashad
Trump, Turmoil and Resistance
Ron Jacobs
U.S. Imperial War Personified
David Swanson
Can the Climate Survive Adherence to War and Partisanship?
Andre Vltchek
Governor of Jakarta: Get Re-elected or Die!
Patrick Cockburn
The Coming Destruction of Mosul
Norman Pollack
Self-Devouring Reaction: Governmental Impasse
Steve Horn
What Do a Louisiana Pipeline Explosion and Dakota Access Pipeline Have in Common? Phillips 66
Brian Saady
Why Corporations are Too Big to Jail in the Drug War
Graham Peebles
Ethiopia: Peaceful Protest to Armed Uprising
Luke Meyer
The Case of Tony: Inside a Lifer Hearing
Binoy Kampmark
Adolf, The Donald and History
Robert Koehler
The Great American Awakening
Murray Dobbin
Canadians at Odds With Their Government on Israel
Fariborz Saremi
A Whole New World?
Joyce Nelson
Japan’s Abe, Trump & Illegal Leaks
Christopher Brauchli
Trump 1, Tillerson 0
Yves Engler
Is This Hate Speech?
Dan Bacher
Trump Administration Exempts Three CA Oil Fields From Water Protection Rule at Jerry Brown’s Request
Richard Klin
Solid Gold
Melissa Garriga
Anti-Abortion and Anti-Fascist Movements: More in Common Than Meets the Eye
Thomas Knapp
The Absurd Consequences of a “Right to Privacy”
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail