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on solitary confinement:
after just 2/3 days your brain starts to drift toward delirium and stupor
you lose sense of who you are… our identity as people is in relation to other people through conversations.. in that situation very easy to come to depression that’s why suicide is twice as high
i was in solitary 410 days – 15 days can cause permanent lasting damage
from clip: (based on man herman wallace -in solitary more than 40 years- helped)-
rocky – reaction to solitary for 18 months – i’d rather be somebody else.. who says i even exist.. get me out this skin..
there’s been a lot of attention on solitary in the last 5 yrs.. people know the facts but lack of actual stories of who the people are the end of in the deep end of our prison system.. in the worst punishment we dish out.. .. that’s a role i can play..
opening the box:
A story about the resilience of the human spirit—and its limits—this play leaves us with a glimmer of hope for the possibility of real transformation, even under the harshest and most horrifying conditions in U.S. prisons today.
Journalist and playwright Sarah Shourd survived 410 days of solitary confinement while imprisoned as a political hostage by the Iranian government from 2009 to 2010. Since her release, Sarah has traveled across the U.S.—driving through snowstorms and snaking through Redwood forests in order to interview dozens of people in the isolation units of our country’s most remote and forbidding prisons. Sarah wove these stories into a play, Opening the Box, about the rare but intimate bonds forged behind walls and the ultimate sacrifice of three exceptional men willing to die if necessary for the simple things the rest of us often take for granted.
“The necessity for me was to find artistic expression of an experience that threatened my sanity, my dignity and my future.” –Sarah Shourd
no one’s free until
ny campaign for alt’s to solitary:
facts on solitary in ny: http://nycaic.org/facts/
- The UN Special Rapporteur on Torture has denounced solitary confinement exceeding 15 days.
- Black people represent about 18% of all people in NYS, but represent 50% of those incarcerated in NYS, and 60% of people held in solitary confinement.
- Five out of six sentences that result in isolated confinement in NYS are for non-violent conduct.
calif limits solitary
video via Shane Bauer 2012 – in prison in iran with Sarah Shourd
any time in solitary is enough time to break a human being..
the un says 15 days is torture.. in pelican bay 89 men have been in solitary for 20 plus years
in a situation that is anti thetical to what it is to be human
oct 2015 – by Molly Crabapple:
According to James E. Robertson, a professor of corrections at Minnesota State University, “Retaliation is deeply engrained in the correctional office subculture; it may well be in the normative response when an inmate files a grievance.” The inmates and their lawyers said guards punished those who filed grievances by slapping them with misconduct charges. In Pennsylvania, a prison has 15 business days to respond to a grievance, but a misconduct charge against an inmate nets an immediate punishment—often a stay in the hole.
His lawsuit also named state corrections secretary Jeffrey Beard, deputy secretary Michael Klopotoski, and the district attorney herself, Jackie Musto Carroll. All of them had failed to protect him from abuse, he said, despite his countless letters and grievances. In fact, calling attention to the abuse had been taken as an invitation for more of it.
The men, who called themselves the Dallas Six, would try to remain committed to bringing their prison’s abusive conditions to light, even in the face of being confined there longer.
My method has been to draw on any source that would help me grow, because what grows continuously can never die,” Jacobs wrote to me. “This principle can be applied to prison, relationships, oneself, or nature. They can pour poison on my rose petals or cut my stem. But my roots are hidden in a place just for me.”
imprisoned since 15 – self taught to read.. became lawyer
According to Keys, the cell extraction on April 29, 2010, was not even the worst one he’d endured. Cell extractions were part of the routine in most RHUs, seen by some as a way of beating prisoners under the guise of standard operating procedure.
Our trial is important because it expresses a dark side of America that the general public thinks only happens in military detainee camps,” he wrote in The Price Men Pay.
Over the weekend I wrote for @the_intercept about the torture of solitary confinement at NYC’s Rikers Island jail https://t.co/peo0AJkL2Z
Original Tweet: https://twitter.com/togglecoat/status/651030795205918721
FROM INSIDE RIKERS ISLAND, A HARROWING LOOK AT THE TORTURE OF SOLITARY CONFINEMENT
Buser’s memoir demonstrates how mental health workers, supposedly the peaceful, civilian presence in a correctional center, can end up perpetrating institutional violence themselves. Even those as conscientious as Buser.
Buser witnessed how the famed “drug sweeps” got low-level drug traffickers, many of them women, mired in the criminal justice system for decades.
Buser refers to most of these prisoners as “detainees” since Rikers Island is, then as now, largely a holding center for people who are awaiting trial but can’t make bail or have been remanded to custody. Of course most of these cases never make it to trial, resulting in plea bargains instead. Today, though the jail’s total population is about half what it was in Buser’s time, little else about it has changed — 90 percent of inmates at Rikers Island are black or Latino; about 85 percent have not been convicted of a crime; 40 percent have been diagnosed with a mental illness.
First “people” become “bodies” then “torture” becomes “segregation.” The dirty secret is locked behind a wall of semantics.
Dostoevsky famously wrote that “A society can be judged by the condition of its jails.” This proverb, Buser notes, is inscribed above the entryway to the George Motchan Detention Center, one of the largest of Rikers Island’s jails. In a way, it’s the perfect institutional phrase, morally compelling yet sanitized of standards. It’s a potentially radical message, at least in America: Jails aren’t the social exception, they are the social rule. When a jail as depraved as Rikers openly proclaims this, it doesn’t realize or can’t admit how sick it really is.
jan 25 2016 – obama bans solitary for juveniles in federal prisons
The new rules also call for expanding treatment for mentally ill prisoners.
The president’s reforms are expected to affect about 10,000 inmates.
As many as 100,000 state and federal prisoners are held in solitary confinement in the United States at any given time, according to the White House, and several states have taken steps recently to curtail its practice
The president begin his op-ed by recounting the story of 16-year-old Bronx resident Kalief Browder, who was sent to Rikers Island in 2010 to await trail after stealing a backpack. He “spent nearly two years in solitary confinement,” Obama wrote. Browder was released in 2013 but committed suicide at 22.
via tweet from Clive:
I did not know this about the history of solitary confinement:
..In 1787, a group of prison reformers joined by Benjamin Franklin argued that if inmates were left alone in silence, they would become repentant. This Quaker-inspired method resulted in the creation, in 1790, of a penitentiary house containing 16 solitary cells in Philadelphia’s Walnut Street Jail. .. in 2005, the Bureau of Justice Statistics found that nearly 82,000 men and women were in “restricted housing”—a lowball figure that doesn’t include jails or immigration facilities.
The excessive use of solitary in youth facilities was first documented in a handful of states in the 1970s and 1980s. But it really took off in the 1990s at the tail end of the crack epidemic, when conservatives began warning of “super-predators”—what the Princeton professor who coined the term described as “fatherless, Godless, and jobless” teenagers who would coldly victimize their communities.
2011, … 61,423 minors were being held in 2,047 juvenile facilities, … adult prisons and jails, which held roughly 95,000 more juveniles
Unfortunately, conditions similar to the ones I experienced in 2010-11 are hardly unusual for the estimated 80,000 to 100,000 inmates held in these conditions across the US every day.
The evidence is overwhelming that it should be deemed as such: solitary confinement in the US is arbitrary, abused and unnecessary in many situations. It is cruel, degrading and inhumane, and is effectively a “no touch” torture. We should end the practice quickly and completely.
how albert woodfox survived solitary (2017) –
As one of the Angola 3, he was in isolation longer than any other American. Then he came home to face his future.
Last summer, five months after being released from prison, Albert Woodfox went to Harlem. It was there, in 1969, during his last week of freedom, that he met members of the Black Panther Party for the first time. He had been mesmerized by the way they talked and moved. “I had always sensed, even among the most confident black people, that their fear was right there at the top, ready to overwhelm them,” he told me. “It was the first time I’d ever seen black folk who were not afraid.”
Woodfox had intended to go to a meeting of the New York chapter of the Party that week, but he was arrested for a robbery before he could. Instead, he founded a chapter of the Party at the Louisiana State Penitentiary, in Angola, where he was held in solitary confinement for more than forty years—longer than any prisoner in American history. He and two other Black Panthers, who were in solitary confinement for a total of more than a hundred years, became known as the Angola 3.
She was so scared of white folks,” he said. “We all knew they had absolute power over us.”
“They thought they were separating us, but everywhere we went that infectious disease called organizing was taking hold
J. Edgar Hoover called the group “the greatest threat to the internal security of the country,” and, as part of his cointelpro program, ordered the F.B.I. to disrupt and discredit its activities. But much of the Party’s work was focussed on providing community services in neighborhoods that had been neglected by the government.
Angola was known as the most dangerous prison in the South. According to the editor of the prison’s newspaper, the Angolite, a quarter of the inmates lived in “bondage”: raped, sold, and traded, they generated income for their owners as well as for prison guards, who were paid to look the other way. The Panthers organized an Anti-Rape Squad, which escorted new prisoners to their dorms. “We would let them know who we were and that we were there to protect them,”
They claimed that responsibility for their actions belonged not to them but to society, which had failed to provide adequate housing, equal educational opportunities, and equal opportunities in American life.”
“If I feel a habit is developing, or even a disorder of any kind, I counsel myself in spirit,” Wallace told a psychologist. “The more food you eat, the more your body craves food,” he wrote to a friend. “It’s the same for sleep—most of it is mental.”
“We wanted the security people to think that they were dealing with superhumans.” It was also a coping strategy. “Before I let them take something from me, I deny it from myself,” he said.
not even adding here.. the injustice of the judges/trials..
or three years, he slept sitting up, because he felt less panicked when he was vertical. “It takes so much out of you just to try to make these walls, you know, go back to the normal place they belong,” he told a psychologist. “Someday I’m not going to be able to deal with it. I’m not going to be able to pull those walls apart.”
Three months later, she sent a letter to a judge who had presided over previous hearings. “I have made a terrible mistake,” she wrote. She also wrote to the judge who had overseen her grand jury, telling him that after researching the case she understood that crucial facts had been withheld from her. “I feel violated and taken advantage of,” she said. In another letter, she begged Buddy Caldwell to stop the prosecution. When she received no replies, she mailed a letter to the governor, Bobby Jindal, whom she had voted for. “This is the worst human tragedy I have ever seen,” she wrote
He found it a “strain to stay within the social dialogue,” he said. He often warned new acquaintances, “I’m not good at, as they say, ‘chitchat.’ ”
He had a workmanlike approach to socializing. He didn’t drink, and he never seemed to judge people. The most skeptical thing I’d ever heard him say was that someone was “quirky.” He had a hard time saying no to anyone.
He said that, in the early two-thousands, inmates at Angola began telling him, “Thanks for not letting them break you.” It was the first time he grasped that, by staying sane, he had done something unusual.
“From the Party I learned that I had worth as a human being,” he said. “How do you explain something that’s in your heart and your mind and your soul?”
Paul V. Prestia, Esq (@pvpesq) tweeted at 6:21 AM – 17 Mar 2017 :
Try this for 24hrs. Lock urself in ur room. Turn off devices.Come out only 4 three meals. See how u feel #solitaryexperiment #kaliefbrowder (http://twitter.com/pvpesq/status/842712449480560645?s=17)
like Will Hall‘s 128 hrs can’t leave/sleep .. guaranteed to hear voices..
i had learned that isolation causes a disconnect in the deepest part of the human psyche. the feeling of being alone, vulnerable, and unable to make real decisions was suffocating, and the monotony of being in a small cell w/o normal human contact or face to face interactions could drive even the most well-behaved inmate to he brink of insanity. there is nothing human about being caged in a cell for 23 hr s a day and when you add this to all the other stresses that inmates face – the torture of regrets from your past, the neglect and abandonment from your family members – you have a surefire recipe for disaster..