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Both Dr. Korn and Dr. Fox were asked to explain what they understood to be the purpose of placing a prisoner in solitary confinement under the kind of regime that existed at the British Columbia Penitentiary. Dr. Korn, drawing on his own experience as assistant warden in the New Jersey State Penitentiary, testified that it was to 'break their morale, to break down their capacity to resist, to get them into a submissive state, that is the objective ...I thought it was either them or us, and unless we could break them down psychologically and make them submissive they were unsafe to us and to the community.'85

Dr. Fox, in defining what he understood to be the purposes behind the regime in SCU, stated that 'it is designed, I believe, not so much for security purposes but to reduce the individual to that condition where there is no conceivable human resistance, where they represent essentially nothing ...The purpose is ultimately to show that on instant demand you will comply, that you will not move a muscle that is not demanded, that is not requested, in the belief, of course, that compliance will move into the street.'86

Dr. Fox testified that the effect of this was to reduce the prisoner to a state where he had no self-respect, no identity, no dignity. However, 'to relinquish, to admit to the psychological suicide of non-identity, is essentially to violate all conceivable meaning in the evolution of mankind ...To come to have no meaning, to come to be nothing, is essentially the greatest human suffering, that is to say, it ultimately leads to insanity and suicide.'87

The expert witnesses described the process by which solitary confinement reduces prisoners to the position of being non-persons by reference to the sociology of the prison. The prison forms a separate society in which a prisoner has his role, his job, and his friends, all of which are related to his sense of dignity and autonomy. Dr. Korn explained the effect of taking the prisoner out of that society and placing him in the prison-within-a- prison that is SCU.

When he leaves that society, when he is, in his mind, capriciously removed from the only society that he has, for reasons he knows not, for a duration he knows not ...he passes into a nightmare, he becomes a non-person. There is nobody that relates to him as a person; he is an object, and this is a catastrophe from which he can only preserve himself in a variety of ways which are in themselves sick. He is condemned to survive by techniques which would unfit him for that open society and it was very obvious in several of the witnesses ...they pointed out the ways they had found to survive in isolation interfered with them when they went out into the open prison.88

Dr. Korn, in assessing the process which he had helped initiate in New Jersey and which, based on the evidence, he saw being continued at the British Columbia Penitentiary, told the court,

This process is fool-proof. If you keep it up long enough, it will break anybody, the more heroic they are, and the more they resist, the more determined you get ...We kept them there for years and when they were finally broken down, W{ let them out ...Then I began to see what I was doing ...and said, 'We must stop this, the ends do not justify the means, this is a form of murder, it has to stop. '89

Dr. Fox explained in equally graphic language the implications of th~ process of breaking prisoners down psychologically:

The demand for ultimate and total compliance is to create a creature who has no respect for their life, and to make a creature that has no respect for their own life, they already long ago have no respect for your life. They write your life off long before they write their own life off. Do you follow what I am trying to say? I am trying to say, when a person comes to have no dignity, and no self-respect, no identity, you are faced with the most violent, the most dangerous possible human being. You can't reduce men to that, you risk your life to reduce them to that ...This desire, the good intentioned desire to create compliance ...forgets that there is a place beyond which you don't want to go, there is an area you do not want to enter, and that is to move to the place where you have eliminated all possible dignity.90

In describing the nature of the struggle that ensues where the institution, through solitary confinement, tries to stamp out all resistance to its demand for total compliance, Dr. Fox explained how such a struggle could end. He referred to the case of Jacques Bellemaire: 'Bellemaire would not go out willingly, but ultimately lost all being, lost touch with the total world. Life had no meaning for him at all. He was nobody. He was nothing. He complied, he became nothing, but in his mind the price for being nothing is death.'91

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