Mugshot: NXIVM Cult Leader Keith Raniere
Mugshot: NXIVM Cult Leader Keith Raniere

Bureau of Prisons’ Sadistic Tendencies Exposed

Keith Raniere has been held in a segregated housing unit (SHU) for over 200 consecutive days and over 300 days since he arrived at USP-Tucson, a Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) facility on January 21, 2021.

Raniere is the founder of the NXIVM cult and was convicted in 2019 on multiple charges, including racketeering, sex trafficking, and forced labor conspiracy.

NXIVM Cult Leader Keith Raniere
NXIVM Cult Leader Keith Raniere

The SHU conditions include feces-stained walls, no natural light, inedible food, no access to prison recreation or programming, no fresh air, an open toilet inches away from his bed, cruel prison guards, indifferent prison administrators, and a confused, violent, psychopathic cellmate.

The United Nations says SHU confinement exceeding 15 consecutive days is torture. Raniere has been in the SHU for over 300 days at USP-Tucson, which is twenty times the duration the UN says is torture under the Nelson Mandela Rules.

The United Nations first adopted the Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners in 1957. In 2015, these Rules were revised and adopted as the “Nelson Mandela Rules” to honor the legacy of the late President of South Africa, Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela, who spent 27 years in prison in the course of his struggle for global human rights, equality, democracy, and the promotion of a culture of peace.

The Nelson Mandela Rules are a primary source of international human rights standards relating to treatment in detention. They are the fundamental framework used by monitoring and inspection mechanisms in assessing the treatment of prisoners.

The United States is a signatory to the United Nations Convention Against Torture (UNCAT).

Raniere’s prolonged solitary confinement also violates the Eighth Amendment’s prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment.

The Eighth Amendment prohibits punishments involving “unnecessary and wanton infliction of pain” (Estelle v. Gamble) or that are inconsistent with “evolving standards of decency that mark the progress of a maturing society.”

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About the author

Richard Luthmann

Richard Luthmann is a writer, commentator, satirist, and investigative journalist with degrees from Columbia University and the University of Miami. Once a fixture in New York City and State politics, Luthmann is a recovering attorney who lives in Southwest Florida and a proud member of the National Writers Union. 

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