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In her short piece, “When Felons Were Human,” McLennan suggests that prison abuses are an outcome of the “exceptional and degraded legal and moral status of convicted offenders” (p. 2). How was the legal pathway that enables abusive prison conditions paved, and how does this relate to the transformation of civil death after 1820? (hint: McLennan provides an explanation on the lineages of civil death on p. 194-201 in her article the Convict’s Two Lives, and p. 3-5 on When Felons Were Human). In your response, please provide a definition of civil death for convicted felons (refer to pages 3-5).
Given the definition and history of civil death, how is it possible for the U.S. to consistently fail to recognize certain prison abuses as human rights abuses?