Prisons: Catalogue of Savagery

At first, the men who composed the report on Philadelphia's prisons tried to put their findings in "sociological, medical and legal terminology less offensive than the raw, ugly and chilling language used by the witnesses and victims themselves." This approach, the writers said, was abandoned. "The incidents are raw, ugly and chilling. Any attempt to prettify so outrageous a situation would be hypocrisy."

Despite that warning, few readers of the document that was made public last week are likely to be prepared for the results of the three-month investigation by the Philadelphia...