Supermax Prison

By Larry Franklin and Rakesh Chendra

This book provides the reader with a history of the burgeoning growth of supermax
prisons within the United States and an insider’s knowledge regarding many of the
problematic inmates housed in such prisons. The complex dynamics leading to the often
bizarre self-injurious behaviors demonstrated by a small but significant number of
supermax inmates is explored in this well-written book. The authors’ conclusion that the
mental health treatment offered to inmates with a serious mental illness at Tamms was
often better than the treatment available at other Illinois prisons, related to class action
litigation, is ironic and concerning.
The authors attempt to provide a balanced review of the pros and cons of the
supermax prison, which was largely successful. A chapter entitled “Silent Voices”
includes success stories of inmates who benefitted from their stays at Tamms in contrast
to many other inmates who did poorly in reaction to the “dark, blackness of isolation”
that was inherent in the Tamms environment.

About the Authors

Larry Franklin

Larry L. Franklin holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in music from the University of Illinois and Southern Illinois University. He performed in the U.S. Navy Band located in Washington, D.C. from 1967 to 1971. From 1972 to 1975, he taught music at Southern Illinois University. In 1976, he completed requirements for a certified financial planner designation and maintained a successful investment business until 2007 when he retired to devote his energies to writing. In 2003, he received an MFA in Creative Non-Fiction from Goucher College in Baltimore, Maryland.

Franklin is the author of Mnemosyne: A Love Affair with Memory, published by Xlibris; The Rita Nitz Story: A Life without Parole, published by Southern Illinois University Press; Cherry Blossoms & Barron Plains: A woman’s journey from mental illness to a prison cell, published by Chipmunka Publishing Company; and the not yet published Love, Dry Creek, and a dog named Max. He currently resides in southern Illinois with his wife, Paula.

Rakesh Chendra

Dr. Rakesh Chandra is a graduate of All India Institute of Medical Sciences in New Delhi, India. He did his internship at the University of Chicago Hospital and his Psychiatry residency at the Royal College of Psychiatrists in London, England. He completed his Psychiatry residency and fellowship at John Hopkins Hospital and John Hopkins University. He did a Neurology residency at Northwestern University Hospital in Chicago, Illinois.

He has a Law Degree from Delhi University and an Advanced Law Degree in Health Law from Loyola University School of Law, Institute for Health Law in Chicago, Illinois. 

Chandra worked for the Illinois Department of Corrections where he was the psychiatrist at Tamms Correctional Center (IL Supermax Prison) from 1997 to 2007. He currently works for the Illinois Department of Corrections Juvenile Justice System where he is a psychiatrist for CMC, a company that covers psychiatric services at several youth facilities in Illinois, including Harrisburg Correction Center in Saline County, Illinois.

He lives in Southern Illinois and continues to treat patients for geriatrics, drug and alcohol addiction through Rassik Complete Recovery Inc, and Juvenile Services in Illinois Department of Corrections.