Release Prisoners from the Psychological Torture of Solitary


From the New York Daily News: “One candidate for New York governor, Cynthia Nixon, wants to abolish solitary confinement in our prisons. To New Yorkers like me who have survived this torture, that means she has done her homework.

I spent the next five years in isolation. Some days, the walls of my cell seemed to close in on me. Imagine being stuck in an elevator — for years. All day and night, people would bang on their lockers and scream in agony.

I went in with a one-year SHU sentence but acted out in desperation and kept getting more misbehavior reports. The state’s only tool — except for beating us up — was more solitary.

Sometimes I thought the staff’s ultimate goal was for us to kill ourselves. According to the Correctional Association, 30% of suicides in New York State prisons take place in SHUs.

Politicians talk a lot about having too many people with mental illness in prisons and jails, but they have to take ownership of the fact that many enter these facilities relatively healthy and leave with tortured minds.”

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  1. According to Karl Marx, Even the most fanatical supporters of the prisons considered in 1845 that single cell housing was more cruel than forced labor:

    “In the debates on solitary confinement in the Chamber of Deputies this year, even the official supporters of that system had to acknowledge that it leads sooner or later to insanity in the criminal. All sentences of imprisonment for more than ten years had therefore to be converted into deportation.”

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