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Kay County, OK — In what is shaping up to look like a scene out of the movie “Cool Hand Luke,” one small Oklahoma county jail has been accused of using “crucifixion cuffing” as a way to punish inmates.

The Kay County Detention Center is the subject of the accusations, according to a report from Oklahoma’s Fox 25 News, which noted that the jail is being accused of a number of abuses. In addition to injuries inflicted from the practice “crucifixion cuffing,” the jail has been accused of putting an African American man, who was known as a prison “bully,” in the commons area with a gang of White Supremacists. A fight ensued and the Black man was reportedly stabbed and beaten so severely he had to seek medical treatment outside of the jail.

The Kay County Sheriff’s office does not run the jail. Instead, it is run by a trust and a board of directors. When confronted about the allegations substantiated by emails from directors, all Jail Director John Jones would say is that his emails could be interpreted a number of different ways but said autocorrect of his emails inaccurately reported the inmate as being stabbed when he was not.

The practice of crucifixion cuffing and placing inmates in needlessly dangerous situations did not sit well with the American Civil Liberties Union. Brady Henderson, legal director for the ACLU of Oklahoma, said, “It is exactly what the name implies…The key feature of a ‘crucifixion’ handcuffing is that you take a detainee’s arms and you put one, one direction as far as it will go and you put the other the other direction as far as it will go.”

The OK State Bureau of Investigations conducted a thorough review of the allegations and issued a report to Kay County District Attorney Brian Hermanson, who will decide if any criminal charges will be filed against jail personnel.

“Crucifixion cuffing is not that dissimilar from the rack, an old torture means used in medieval Europe…The concept is just to painfully stretch somebody and in this case instead of wanting them to talk or wanting them to do a particular thing you are doing it as a punishment,” Henderson said, noting that the ACLU is incensed with the practice.

The accusations being leveled at the small county in Oklahoma seem to rise to the level of mistreatment Iraqi prisoners received by U.S. Armed Services Personnel at the now infamous Abu Ghraib prison where Iraqi prisoners were tortured by members of the military. But instead of taking place in a war zone, these torturous allegations are said to have taken place in the state of Oklahoma.

Unfortunately, it is not surprising. As The Free Thought Project has documented over the years, the use of restraint chairs, combined with tasing, and pepper spray is commonplace in jail. We have even documented cases where prisoners have been deprived of life-saving medicines and basic resources, such as water. Several inmates have died as a result of the torture received while in jail.

The most recent jailhouse scandal we reported on took place in Texas where a 21-year-old mother was arrested after police discovered less than half a gram of cannabis, which she used to treat her epilepsy. She was arrested and taken to jail, where she was allegedly raped by a prison guard.


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