An uncomfortable backdrop to the Abu Ghraib story is the knowledge that various sorts of abuse are endemic throughout the American prison system. Along those lines, here's a clip from a piece in Saturday's Times by Fox Butterfield: "The experts also point out that the man who directed the reopening of the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq last year and trained the guards there resigned under pressure as director of the Utah Department of Corrections in 1997 after an inmate died while shackled to a restraining chair for 16 hours. The inmate, who suffered from schizophrenia, was kept naked the whole time. The Utah official, Lane McCotter, later became an executive of a private prison company, one of whose jails was under investigation by the Justice Department when he was sent to Iraq as part of a team of prison officials, judges, prosecutors and police chiefs picked by Attorney General John Ashcroft to rebuild the country's criminal justice system."
Meanwhile, on page 6 (link through then scroll down to page 6) of the latest edition of the Utah Sheriff's Association newsletter, The Utah Sheriff, is a picture of McCotter on "a tour of the death house at Abu Ghraib Prison" with Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz. The figure in the background appears to be Brig. Gen. Janis Karpinski.