A common term for the highest security form of a prison. These prisons have only been built in recent years and are quite popular in political circles for their public appeal as quick fix solutions to crime. The inmates usually have no direct human contact. They spend nearly all of their time in the cell, which contains a bed, a toilet/sink, and sometimes a video camera. There are no windows. Many times the cells are monitored and the singular florescent light remains on 24 hours a day.
Supermaxes are highly condemned by human rights groups. They very nearly meet the international definition of torture set by the UN (some say they exceed it). Although they are intended for only the most troubling and mentally ill of inmates, many times they are used for other purposes (such as the punishing of inmates who are politically active). There are very frequent reports of self-mutilation and suicide among inmates. The justification for this treatment is that it can be advertised as a criminal's "worst nightmare" and thus prevent crime. Many times they are installed in areas which already have a dramatically lowering crime rate to be used as extra storage space.