60 Minutes Did Do A Segment About SuperMax, But Didn’t Get Inside It


Several individuals who work for the federal Bureau of Prisons contacted me privately this week because they were unhappy about the blog that I posted Monday that described allegations about mentally ill prisoners being abused and neglected inside the BOP’s SuperMax prison.

These were employees who either knew me personally or had read my book, The Hot House: Life Inside Leavenworth Prison, which is based on a year that I spent off-and-on inside what then was a BOP maximum security Kansas prison between 1987 to 1989.

 They called to remind me about what sort of inmate gets housed at the SuperMax and to complain because I stated that reporters have not been allowed to see inside our nation’s most secure prison. I was told that some reporters have been taken on a limited tour inside it and I also was told that 60 Minutes had done a story about the SuperMax.

I had chastised the BOP for keeping reporters out of the prison.

Sorry, but I still stand by that statement.

If you have time to watch the 60 Minutes story, you will note that the BOP did not allow Scott Pelley inside, as I reported. You will also notice that Thomas Silverstein, a major character in my book,  is mentioned in the broadcast. Silverstein has been held in solitary confinement longer than any other U.S. prisoner – continuously since 1983..

I intend to write more about the SuperMax in future blogs but I would like to note something I failed to mention in Monday’s blog.  A majority of the inmates who are identified in the class action lawsuit that has been filed are scheduled to be released for time served, some as soon as 2014.

What will happen when they return to society either without having received any mental health treatment while at the SuperMax or having received the absolutely minimum?


About the author:

Pete Earley is the bestselling author of such books as The Hot House and Crazy. When he is not spending time with his family, he tours the globe advocating for mental health reform.

Learn more about Pete.