Contraband watch, also known as “potty watch,” something prisons throughout California have used for years to humiliate and torture prisoners, is becomming more common. In a recent interview, a prisoner in the Pelican Bay SHU told a legal representative that there were 15 watches happening at that time. “Potty watch” is the practice of forcing prisoners to wear a diaper and shackling them so that they cannot use their hands. In some cases, PVC pipes are placed over the person’s hands. The supposed purpose for doing this is so that the guards can find any illegal substances or items prisoners are not supposed to have that they have attempted to take into the prison by ingesting or otherwise inserting in to their body. The reality is that “potty watch” is used for punishment and retaliation. The result is days of both physical pain and psychological torture. Prisoners who have been subjected to the “potty watch” report that not being able to move freely is painful and that guards don’t always change diapers. In one case, a prisoner emerged from a 6 day”potty watch” to find that the skin on his thighs and buttocks had been burned from the ammonia in his urine. Prisoners are reporting that these contraband watches are usually lasting 3-6 days and that they are commonly used after transfers or visits, they are becoming increasingly arbitrary and common.
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