Seven Days in Solitary [1/7/2016]

Our Weekly Roundup of News and Views on Solitary Confinement

by | February 7, 2016

• VICE published a piece on the experiences of people with mental illness in solitary confinement. Journalist Paul Willis quotes the words of ADX prisoner Tommy Silverstein. “The mental anguish of 28 years of solitary confinement is worse than any physical pain I have ever suffered or imagined… The indefiniteness of my confinement makes my mental suffering never-ending.”

• A post at ThinkProgress explores the story of Anthony Hinton, who was exonerated after spending thirty years in solitary on Alabama’s death row. “When he was first released, Hinton went to a nearby mall ‘to try to get used to people.’ The anxiety of being surrounded by large crowds — after years of sensory deprivation — caused him to break down in public.”

• Norman Seabrook, the president of the New York City Correction Officers’ Benevolent Association, penned an op-ed on why Obama is wrong on solitary confinement. “Separating dangerous inmates from the general population and civilians inside correctional facilities is an essential deterrent used to ensure everyone’s safety. It is a protective measure that exists for a reason.”

• Meanwhile, The Bangor Daily News published an editorial entitled “Why reducing solitary confinement helps inmates, makes prisons safer,” which explores the positive outcomes of the reductions in solitary that have occurred in Maine.

• Writing in The Intercept, Arun Kundnani exposes the pre-trial conditions of extreme isolation that terrorism suspects endure at Metropolitan Correctional Center in lower Manhattan. He describes what one young man, Mahdi Hashi, has experienced there: “For over three years, [Hashi] has been confined to a small cell 23 hours a day without natural light, with an hour alone in a slightly larger indoor cage. He has had no physical contact with anyone.”

• Slate published a video featuring two men who were released after spending long periods of in solitary. They “describe what it’s like to spend months, and even years, in extreme isolation, and how hard it has been for them to recover since they regained their freedom.”

• An article in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health explores “The “Clinical Alternative to Punitive Segregation” (CAPS) Program in New York City Jails.”


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