Voices from Solitary: Solitary Sorrow

John Jay Powers, the author of this piece and a prolific prison writer, spent over twelve years isolated at the notorious ADX federal supermax facility in Florence, Colorado. The severity of the conditions in solitary confinement led him to develop critical mental health conditions and engage in dire acts of self-harm. Overall, Powers has spent […]

Voices from Solitary: Six by Ten

The following accounts have been excerpted from Six by Ten: Stories from Solitary, a recently published collection of thirteen oral history narratives from people impacted by solitary confinement. Part of the Voice of Witness series published by Haymarket Books, the volume was compiled and edited by ACLU attorney and campaign strategist Taylor Pendergrass and multimedia journalist […]

Voices from Solitary: A Concrete Death

Branton Noojin received an Honorable Mention for Nonfiction in PEN America’s 2018 Prison Writing Contest for authoring the following piece, “Solitary Confinement,” which is republished here by permission of the author and PEN. Noojin, currently serving a 100-year sentence for murder and voluntary manslaughter, has spent seven years in solitary confinement overall. Here, he provides a striking […]

Voices From Solitary: Waltzing Into Hell

The following account was written by Laura Purviance, who is currently serving a 50 to life sentence for murder at Central California Women’s Facility (CCWF) in Chowchilla. In her writing, Purviance describes her experience at Lynwood Jail for women in Los Angeles. After revealing her mental health history, Purviance was placed on “suicide watch” in […]

Voices From Solitary: Resurrection

The author of the following poem, William Blake, has spent 31 continuous years in solitary confinement in New York State prisons. Sentenced to 77 years to life for killing a sheriff’s deputy in a failed escape attempt when he was 23 years old, Blake is being held in administrative segregation, meaning there is no clear […]