IL Prisoner Anthony Gay Castrates Himself To Get Attention
October 10, 2016 (Fault Lines) — The sad and pathetic story of Anthony Gay as an American prisoner began in 1993 when he pled out to violating probation because of a “strong arm robbery.” Gay was convicted of the robbery and hence the violation after nicking a hat and $1, resulting in a sentence of 7 years in prison. Once he was warehoused at the notorious supermax Tamms Correctional Center in Illinois, to say things “took a turn for the worse” would not do him justice. From Prison Legal News:
His actions while incarcerated, driven by his mental illness, resulted in years of solitary confinement and additional criminal convictions, chiefly due to a series of assaults on guards, including throwing feces and urine out of the food slot in his cell door. By 2013, his sentence had been increased to 97 years and his release date pushed back to around 2091.
Gay could be a poster child for the problems inherent in incarcerating the mentally ill. During his prison stay he practiced self-mutilation, even to the point of cutting out one of his testicles and hanging it on a cell door in 2010.
Gay goes in for 7 years, and manages to rack up 90 more, on the (ware)house. Because of his mental illness, or as a result of the subsequent placement in the hole, or due to a lack of viable mental health treatment, he ripped off one of his cojones and hung it from his cell. Get the picture, fellow constituents?
He was literally crying out for help, and no one listened, save for his lawyers who managed to put a stop to this madness. They convinced the court that the sentences Gay racked up while at Tamms had been improperly stacked, and thus Gay’s sentence was modified so that his new release date is set for August of 2018. Gay will serve the rest of his sentence at Pontiac Correctional Center, now that Tamms has closed shop because its blatant incompetence and overindulgence in costly solitary confinement of people like Gay.
The rhetorical question then becomes: how the hell does a guy like Gay, who goes in to pay his debt to society (whatever that means) for stealing a buck, end up with nearly a century prison sentence and his body parts hanging from a prison cell door? Two reasons: first, because those tasked with confining our deplorables are ill-equipped, financially or otherwise, to handle the mentally ill.
Second, prisons are generally autonomous from the courts once a sentence has been pronounced, and thus it’s up to a defense attorney to move hell and earth to seek a modification of his client’s conditions in a cage. On the federal side, even the supposedly omnipotent* Article III Judges can only make “recommendations” to the U.S. Bureau of Prisons when it comes to placement and such.
As for Gray, when he wrote to seek solace from his tormenters at Tamms, he did not address the judge, his lawyers, or even the guards. He spoke to the national conscience:
“Dear America” wrote Anthony Gay, who is being held in solitary confinement in Tamms supermax prison in Illinois, “It is like this place is designed to psychologically kill you. How could America be so cruel to its own people?… Is there a need to psychologically kill prisoners? Are we terrorists? Am I a terrorist?”
One of the problems with the treatment of mentally ill inmates like Gay is that he will (at least for now, thanks to his advocats) eventually be released back into circulation, where even those who think they stand to benefit from the “good guy curve” may run into him.
Not only that, but Gay will then be every other constituent’s “problem,” since he will probably seek all sorts of public assistance, even if he is condemned to live under a bridge like those other kinds of societal pariahs. Even when it involves the terrorists referenced by Gay in his letter, their torture can also create a boomerang effect, to the nation’s detriment. Putting legality and good old-fashioned humanity aside, self-interest may drive even the most inhumane stubborn to do the right thing.
*That’s why Rep. Darrel Issa’s jab at federal judges (“the difference between God and a federal district judge is that God does not think he is a federal judge”) is not entirely accurate.