Apparently John Lee Malvo's lawyers feel he is being treated inhumanely at the Fairfax County Adult Detention Center because of the size of his cell and his isolation [news story, Nov. 16].

My son, who suffers from drug addiction and has a history of stealing, is also at the detention center. As the result of a disciplinary infraction, he is spending 20 or more days confined to a cell the same size as that of John Malvo, has had his mattress taken away all day, and instead of regular meals receives something known as "the loaf" three times a day. This, according to jail administrators, has sufficient calories to meet his nutritional requirements.

Human rights activists have clamored to ensure that detained terrorist suspects are receiving humane treatment. But what about the treatment of other men and women in jails throughout this country, many of whom suffer from drug or alcohol addiction?

I wonder if my son will make it out of the Fairfax County Adult Detention Center with his mind intact. As a society we show more concern about stray animals than we do about the suffering we inflict in the name of justice on our fellow human beings.