ACLU uses Hernandez case to criticize solitary confinement


Aaron Hernandez has been jailed without bail pending trial on murder and weapons charges.  He has enjoyed limited public support, due in large part to the strong circumstantial evidence that prosecutors have compiled in only three weeks since the killing of Odin Lloyd and the never ending stream of stories about other bad stuff Hernandez supposedly did.

But Hernandez can now expand by 50 percent the list of those who have spoken out on his behalf — former teammate Deion Branch, Snoop Dogg/Lion/Whatever, and the ACLU.

The ACLU doesn’t care about Hernandez as much as it cares about its agenda, and it has used Hernandez’s situation to spark a debate regarding solitary confinement.

“Regardless of what you think of Aaron Hernandez, it’s important to take a minute and remember he has not yet been convicted — in the eyes of the law, he is still innocent until proven guilty,” Hilary Krase and Sarah Solon of the ACLU write in an item posted on July 3 at the organization’s website.  “But, while awaiting trial, he has been locked alone in a small room with little or no human interaction for over 20 hours a day.”

The ACLU then addresses the potential psychological costs of keeping human beings alone for extended stretches of time, even if the goal is to protect them from other inmates.

Here’s the problem presented by the practicalities of prison.  The only human interaction Hernandez would currently have is with other men who would be tempted to do him harm.  Though each one individually will claim he is innocent, collectively there are some very bad people who have done far worse things.

In that setting, there are certain types of persons who become magnets for more bad things being done to them, requiring them to be isolated for their safety.

The better philosophical argument in Hernandez’s case would be that, for the taxpayer resources being devoted to keep him behind bars, Hernandez should be allowed to remain isolated in his home.  If there’s a concern he’ll flee, Hernandez can reimburse the government for the costs of a 24-hour police detail in or outside his home.

Regardless, the same system that protects Hernandez from a life sentence for murder via devices like the presumption of innocence, the right against self-incrimination, the right to counsel, and the get out of jail free card known as reasonable doubt mandates that he remain in custody until his trial.  His lawyers have had two chances to get him sent home, and they’ve failed to convince the presiding judge that the benefit outweighs the risk.

Meanwhile, Sunday’s apparent filler item in the Boston Herald about Hernandez’s “quiet” July 4 behind bars and his daily menu and other details of his incarceration now makes sense.  With the ACLU sounding off about solitary, the folks at the Bristol County jail wanted to get the word out that Hernandez is tolerating his current lifestyle very well.

And that’s good.  Because based on what we currently know, it’s likely going to be his lifestyle for a long time.

20 responses to “ACLU uses Hernandez case to criticize solitary confinement

  1. Given that the entire Boston Police Department failed to find a wounded 19 year old kid until some guy went into his back yard to have a smoke, home detention with 24 hour surveillance is no guarantee against Hernandez’ flight risk.

  2. About time the ACLU got with the program and started bowing to the needs of the rich and famous. That whole common man thing is so 20th century.

  3. …and when Hernandez gets released into the general population, the ACLU will decry the need to protect certain prisoners from being attacked behind bars.

  4. it doesnt matter if it Hernandez or anyone else, it has been proven through numerous empirical studies/research the long lasting negative effects of solitary confinement…but then again, the question becomes is a murderers life less valuable than a regular citizen

  5. The issue is that on occasion there may be people in prison who we don’t completely despise as a society.

    For example, a dude might take it upon himself to whack an evildoer, on the premise that spending 25 years to life in prison is worth it, to eradicate that evildoer from society.

    Most people in prison (we presume) belong there and should be punished. But, the way we treat them, as they are removed from society reflects on us.

    The problem with solitary confinement is that it is inhumane. Patients in ICU wards in hospitals experience the same type of dissociation and psychosis. This is because they are in a room, detached from nature and the passing of time.

    How about providing a window? Letting the person know when it’s day and when it’s night? Seems like a simple solution that would go a long way.

  6. I put the ACLU right up with PETA and the WBC as the most dispicable organizations in the country.

  7. But he is still alive, unlike Odin Lloyd & at least two others. So he’s got that going for him.

  8. here is an idea, dont want that kind of treatment dont put yourself in that position. its called accountability

  9. Since, from what I understand, in 3 years with the Pats he didn’t speak to anybody I don’t solitary confinement is much of a problem with this dude.

  10. He can’t be held in solitary forever “for his protection”. There’s got to be a pod in that prison/jail that the jailers could fill with guys that wouldn’t care who he was. Eventually he’s going to prison even if found not guilty on the murder charges. He’s got too many gun charges. I think the Sheriff is enjoying his media coverage a little bit much.

  11. Im sure this isn’t anything compared to what Odin Lloyd went through in his final moments. Hernz can rot in prison for an eternity for what I care. He deserves it, he did the time now he has to reap what he sows. And I’m a pats fan and a big fan of his WHEN he was a player.

  12. The ACLU is more concerned with a killer’s rights than the rights of the victim left to rot in a field… I don’t think many will back this point of view. Poor agenda. Should have passed on this one…

  13. Another moronic liberal statement from the authors. This guy is charged with 1st degree MURDER. No one charged with 1st degree MURDER should be free. Not till our system finds he’s not guilty (not innocent). You claim to be ex lawyers. The public needs to be protected from scum like this GANG BANGER PUNK.

  14. I myself have found that the best way to avoid the difficulties of solitary confinement is to not be found on video tape walking into my house waving a gun, one mile and minutes away from an area where witnesses heard gunshots and an acquaintance of mine is found dead.

    That usually works for me.

  15. Ahhhhhhhhhhh the good old ACLU – the organization that is largely based on making sure violent criminals are treated with dignity.

    By the way, I disagree in part with the guy who finds PETA despicable. Some times they might be a little a bit over the top, but we shouldn’t be abusing dogs, bashing baby seal skulls, etc.

  16. My sons birthday is coming up and i want to buy him something special. What should i get him. His favorite player is still aaron hernandez.

  17. BigBeachBall says: Jul 8, 2013 2:41 PM

    My sons birthday is coming up and i want to buy him something special. What should i get him. His favorite player is still aaron hernandez.
    Buy him a step-dad

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