|Re-education and labor camp|
Housing Block #5 for inmates
|Other names||Kentucky Bend Agricultural Station #405|
|Location||Kentucky Bend, Kentuckiana, United Commonwealth|
|Built by||Continentalist Party of the United Commonwealth|
Continental Commissariat for Rehabilitation and Corrections (reportedly)|
Continental Commissariat for Agriculture (officially)
|Original use||Prisoner-of-war camp|
Officially closed in 1922
(According to official Continentalist Party statements)
|Number of inmates||55,000|
As of 2019, an estimated 55,000 have been secretly detained at Kentucky Bend while over 1.5 million have been processed throughout the camp's entire operation. A League of Nations human rights panel stated that it has received credible reports that the camp is used to silence and punish political opponents of the Continentalist Party, as well as party officials who have fallen out of party favor.
Within the United Commonwealth, public knowledge of Kentucky Bend is widespread despite its information and search results being officially censored on the Continentalist Internet by the Appalachian Firewall. It is described as one of the United Commonwealth's most significant open secrets as "Kentucky Bend" is commonplace in the Continentalist vernacular. The threat of being sent to Kentucky Bend is frequently employed by law enforcement authorities to intimidate and deter at-risk citizens. Most reports of the camp's operations and working conditions have come from Continentalist defectors including former prisoners and guardsmen. According to most defectors, the aim and purpose of the camps is to suppress opposition to the government by forcing prisoners to renounce anti-government rhetoric. As much as forty percent of prisoners detained at the camp can expect to be held indefinitely, sometimes for life without trial or release.
Officially, Kentucky Bend is administered by the Continental Commissariat for Agriculture and it is listed as an agricultural processing facility. It asserts that the people within the complex are workers who are voluntarily contracted for long-term employment or individuals receiving specialized training with agricultural-related skills. The United Commonwealth cites Kentucky Bend as an example of its model worker-owned factory where the workers collectively own the plant, housing, and surrounding land. The government claims that the high-security nature of the camp was a locally decided measure to deter theft and foreign espionage. It is reportedly under the actual control of the Continental Commissariat for Rehabilitation and Corrections due to its status as one of the major Continentalist concentration camps.
Kentucky Bend has been a longtime subject of international controversy and condemnation. International awareness of the purported nature of Kentucky Bend emerged after World War II when former Continentalist state official Clyde Gleeson released an autobiography detailing his time overseeing the camp. It was a frequent point of contrition during the Cold War between the United Commonwealth and its Anglo-American neighbors. It has also become an unofficial symbol of the United Commonwealth's labor prison system as it is reportedly used as the model example for similar, smaller camps throughout the country.
The camp was first established in 1920 to serve as an internment camp for Federalist prisoners of war captured during the Continental Revolutionary War. The camp was first proposed by Greg McCarthy and proposed it to be created in the Kentucky Bend due to the place being located behind the frontlines and based deep within Continentalist-controlled territory. After it finished construction, Kentucky Bend was built to hold 8,000 people at max and by the autumn of 1920, the first arrival of Federalist POWs came in and numbered at 2,433 soldiers, including 32 officers and 3 colonels. By December, the camp had over 6,000 captured Federalist soldiers, civilians, and politicians and the camp went through major expansion process in order to hold more and more prisoners. By June 1921, Kentucky Bend was the largest Continentalist internment camp and was restructured to hold upwards as 30,000 prisoners and had a prison population of 18,723 by mid-1921 according to prison census data from the time. McCarthy served as the camp's commandant throughout the entire war and he developed a reputation for strict discipline, keen observance, and willingness to use drastic means to keep the prison population in check. McCarthy became infamous to distributing food and other rations based upon how "re-educated" the prisoners were with those that renounced their allegiance to the Federalist regime being given rations first and those that refused and remained loyal to the Federalist Party were given rations of low quality or none at all. Sanitation was also an issue and many prisoners died as a result.
By the beginning of 1922, the camp had 20,000 prisoners and the Continentalists began using many of the prisoners as a source of free labor and used them to construct roads, bridges, facilities and other forms of infrastructure for the Continentalists to use in order to support them logistically during the final climactic battles of the war. Many prisoners were released in 1922 with many having sworn their new loyalty to Warren and the Continentalist Party and others being released due to them being civilians and posed little to no threat to the future Continentalist government. By the time of the Siege of Chicago, the camp had 23,000 prisoners and was expanded once more to accommodate for more prisoners. The camp's sanitation conditions were also improved, though the camp's conditions had caused the deaths of 4,234 prisoners and McCarthy was pressured to resign and was relocated to the 4th Logistical Company supporting the Siege of Chicago and was replaced by Martin Cornwallis for the remainder of the war. By the end of the war, Kentucky Bend had between 28,000-32,400 prisoners and had been expanded to accommodate a max population fo 50,000 people. By the time of the war's end, Secretariat Warren and began plans to release all Federalist prisoners of war starting with civilians and low-ranking personnel and planned on relocating high-ranking political and military prisoners to Kentucky Bend until war crime trials could begin. In December 1922, the camp was officially shut down and the new Continentalist government showcased footage of pardoned prisoners to back up their claim, but the camp continued operations long after the war had ended and was repurposed as well.
Location and facilities
Kentucky Bend is located at the center of the geographic Kentucky Bend, an oxbow loop meander of the Mississippi River in Southwestern Kentucky. The entire land, which encompasses 26.9 square miles (69.6 km2), is wholly owned and operated officially by the Continental Commissariat for Agriculture. The only land access to the bend to the south is fenced and marked off as restricted land, while there are 2-mile wide buffer zone along the opposite shoreline of the Mississippi River which is similarly fenced off. River traffic is heavily restricted and monitored by the Continental River Guard, a division of the Continental Coast Guard.
- Camp 1: 26.9 square miles, located on the entirety of the geographic Kentucky Bend. Originally housed the majority of war prisoners during the Continental Revolutionary War, it now serves as the location for the Agricultural Commissariat's Kentucky Bend Agricultural School.
- Camp 2: 21.8 square miles located on the outskirts of New Madrid, Missouri, established by the government after the facility in Kentucky achieved capacity. It is now utilized as a agricultural land for the camp system.
- Camp 3: 5 square miles located in Tennessee, just south of Kentucky Bend. Utilized for the detention of former members of the Continentalist Party who committed heinous crimes during the revolution.
- Camp 4: 12 square miles located in Kentucky, utilized as an additional site for agricultural rehabilitation.
- Camp 5: 8 square miles located in Missouri, utilized as additional site for agricultural rehabilitation.
- Camp 6: 2.9 square miles located in Tennessee, south of Camp 3, utilized for industrial rehabilitation and stone collection. Cement factory is located at this site.
- Camp 7: Closed facility previously located on Island Number 8, was utilized as the rehabilitation camp for venture capitalists, industrialists and Federalist intellectuals. It was condemned by the League of Nations as a site of 'self-liquidation' due to the refusal of the Continental government to feed non-cooperative prisoners. Closed in 1943 after the government declared that all former Federalist sympathizers were either self-liquidated or rehabilitated.
- Camp 8: 3 square miles in Missouri, developed in 1931 as a psychiatric hospital for capitalists classified as mentally defective
- Camp 9: 10 square miles in Tennessee developed as agricultural land for war prisoners of the Great War I. Utilized today as agricultural land for the camp system.
- Camp 10: 9 square miles in Kentucky developed as agricultural land for war prisoners of the Great War I. Utilized today as agricultural land for the camp system.
- Camp 11: 5 square miles in Missouri developed as agricultural land for war prisoners of the Great War I. Utilized today as agricultural land for the camp system.
- Camp 12: 4.1 square miles in Kentucky developed as agricultural land for war prisoners of the Great War I. Utilized today as agricultural land for the camp system.
- Camp 13: 1.3 square miles in Kentucky developed as a processing camp for defectors from Sierra, Superior and other capitalist nations. It is now utilized as agricultural land for the camp system.
- Camp 14: Closed facility previously located on the banks of the Mississippi in Missouri directly north of Island Number 8. Land detached from Camp 7 during Great War I, utilized as a rehabilitation site for venture capitalists, industrialists and reactionary partisans from annexed republics. It was condemned by the League of Nations as a site of 'self-liquidation' due to the refusal of the Continental government to feed non-cooperative prisoners. Closed in 1961 after the government declared that all former reactionary sympathizers were either self-liquidated or rehabilitated.
Conditions and human rights situation
During the reign of Seamus Callahan, the government upheld a policy of "those who do not work shall not eat", leaving those who refused to participate to starve. Prisoners convicted for class treason were stationed at smaller camps surrounding Kentucky Bend, while war prisoners were placed into separate camps. Working alongside the agricultural commissariat, these prisoners worked in grain collection, irrigation, and processing. Since the inception of the camp system, the government has prohibited the sale and distribution of goods produced on camp grounds.
From 1919 until 1924 the conditions at the camp were considerably harsh, with many prisoners in select sections of the camp dying from malnutrition. When asked in 1925 about the conditions, Callahan stated;
|“||...the capitalists, the traitors of the revolution, those who refused to be rehabilitated reap what they sow. It is not the fault of the working class that these individuals never learned a profession to sustain themselves, I have no sympathy for a wealth financer who is too weak to pick up a shovel. Let them drop dead.||”|
During the earlier camp system, fourteen camps were established to produce goods to internally support themselves. Camp 13 and Camp 7 openly refused to participate in rehabilitation, and refused to take on the direction of the Commissariat. Death rates at these two camps registered as high as 65%. In Camps 9 and 2, prisoners utilized coercion and intimidation to force others to participate in work rehabilitation. Nearly 95% of prisoners being processed through Camp 9 and 2 were held for at maximum 13 months before being released.
Former working class citizens openly sympathetic towards the Federalist Party and capitalism were inducted into camps which were categorically better than the camps which housed classified 'class traitors'. During a study conducted by the League of Nations in 1922, an imprisoned Federalist soldier consumed on average 800 more calories than a venture capitalist imprisoned at Camp 13 and Camp 7.
From 1920 until the official closing of the site in 1922, the official program of Kentucky Bend only required that detainees perform rehabilitative labor for penal discharge. In 1922 the Continental Commissariat for Agriculture (CCA) was designated as the site operator and began acquiring surrounding land for 'state instruction'. During the same year the Continental Commissariat for Rehabilitation and Corrections (CCRC) was established to maintain the nation's correction facilities.
According to official documents delivered to the Central Congress by the Commissariat for Agriculture and the Commissariat for Rehabilitation, the site would be officially held by the CCA, but would be operated by the CCRC. All activities performed by the CCRC must be approved by the CCA.
In 1922 the CCA established the Kentucky Bend Agricultural School as an educational center for detainees, and asked the Commissariat of Education (CCE) to assist in the development of a curriculum promoting rehabilitation for individuals deemed unsuitable for a socialist society. Natasha Rosenberger, the first Secretary of Education was instrumental in the development of the penal education system promoting the Curriculum for Class Realization, Positive Self Criticism and Reintegration. Outlining daily routines, activities and work requirements the curriculum has been utilized since the facility was officially established as Kentucky Bend Agricultural Station #405. In 2018 the Continentalist Party stated that it continues to utilize the 1922 curriculum at the facility.
Detainees are instructed to maintain personal journals to outline their internal thoughts. They are also instructed to record the instruction material that they perceive as being useful, reasonable or thought provoking. Detainees reception to the material and their personal confessions is key to release. Forced to partake in the closed economic system of the camps, detainees are compelled to analyze the conditions brought upon workers by both capitalism and socialism. Since the ascension of Rupert Gardner the facilities no longer rely solely on food from internal production and detainees are not allowed to go without food for more than 2 days.
Detainees who are deemed fit to return to Continental society are placed into graduating classes at the Agriculture School. Regarded as 'rehabilitated citizens' they are protected by law to return to work, take on new work, rejoin the party and to participate in general and primary elections. During graduation from the facility, detainees swear fidelity to the party, sing the Internationale and are reunited with friends and families. Observers from the Conference of American States claim that this graduation ceremony and prospective family reunion is a form of coercion to force detainees to change ideologies.
- George C. McCellen (1879–1924) - General of the Federalist Army during the Continental Revolution and was implicated in the mass killings during the Appalachian Culling, executed in 1924.
- William Dudley Pelley (1890–1955) - Head of the Silver Legion of America, was forced in ideological rehabilitation. After failing parole he was permanently imprisoned from 1942 and died in 1955.
- Michael Jacob Douglas (born 1972) - Far-right sympathizer who was placed into a rehabilitation youth camp. Escaped in 1986 and currently resides in the Antilles.
- Travis Belford (born 1994) - Rehabilitated far-right member of the All-Michigan Resistance Front, detained in 2016 and released in 2020.
Criticism and condemnation
Depictions in popular culture
- References to Kentucky Bend are common in the 2009 Sierran legal comedy Dumb Justice. In the Season 2 premiere, "United Commonwealth v. Cloverfield", the character Teeny Cloverfield is sent to Kentucky Bend as a foreign prisoner for illegally attempting to smuggle non-union goods into the United Commonwealth for her black market businesses there. Cloverfield "escapes" the camp and the United Commonwealth when the camp's warden lets her go for being too annoying.
- In the 2015 Webbox original program Peculiar Occurrences, a fictionalized version of Camp 14 of the Kentucky Bend is a major setting for the show. In the show, it is depicted as an area with strong paranormal activity as Continental scientists maintain a portal to an alternate dimension known as the Upside Down.