CRESCENT CITY, CA—In an admission that highlights the internal complexities of the prison worker strike spreading across the nation, Pelican Bay supermax prison warden Earl Daniels has divulged that he is struggling to find methods of punishment worse than the inmates’ current living conditions. “There’s no question that we want to employ some sort of punishment, but frankly, it’s difficult to figure out how to make life less pleasant for incarcerated citizens than it already is,” said Daniels, noting that most of the inmate population was already psychologically and physically damaged by the brutal penitentiary environment, and moreover, a significant percentage had been placed in solitary confinement, a practice considered a war crime by the United Nations. “I guess we could just beat them, if we can find a time when they’re not beating one another, but then they’d just escape into unconsciousness. We can’t make their cells smaller. The stuff they eat isn’t good enough to legally feed to livestock. Their doctors aren’t good enough to work for Cigna. And this country’s laws already punish felons by restricting their civil rights, voting rights, and employment opportunities after they’re released, so threats aren’t going to work. I guess I could turn off the lights, if they were working.” Representatives of CoreCivic and GEO Group, corporations running the more than 150 prisons where strikes have occurred, have chastised Daniels for his statement, saying that as a federal prison employee, the warden has a responsibility to their stockholders.

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