Solitary Confinement

According to the law, deprivation of freedom alone is supposed to be the price society exacts for crimes. Even within this mostly punitive model, people are supposed to be sent to prison as punishment, not for punishment.

That is from an article from Minnesota’s Start Tribune by an inmate that spent 585 days in solitary confinement. It does not sound pleasant.

Imagine being locked in a concrete room the size of your bathroom for 20 months with no way out. Under the glare of bright fluorescent lights that never go dark, the only way to tell day from night is by what type of meal slides through a hole in the door.

Now imagine that door is soundproof and the only noises you’ve heard for almost two years are your own voice and the occasional faint metallic banging as someone loses his mind in another room near yours. Imagine being so deprived of stimulation that watching ants race to a chunk of cookie for hours was the most exciting event of those nearly 600 days.

What you are imagining was my life.

In fact the Star Tribune has a related 4-part series called “Way Down in the Hole,” which I hope to read soon.

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