August 6, 2015

Word: Life in solitary

Johnny Perez, Solitary Watch - I learned that with solitary—or even prison, but more like solitary—it’s a second-by-second attack on your soul, where every second is spent thinking about the next second, and that just makes the day so long. You try to sleep it off, but sometimes too much sleeping drives you to be awake for long periods of time…You don’t do solitary time, you survive solitary time. And I know this to be true because some of my peers did not survive solitary time. They’ve either left psychologically different than when they came in, or committed suicide.

A lot of injustices go on in solitary, mainly at the hands of officers who might put people together who are from opposing gangs, opposing height and weight, things like that, as their own little human cockfights. They stand at the door and they bet on who’s gonna win. They might say to the guy inside the cell, “If you beat him up, I’ll give you an extra tray of food,” things like that, you know, very barbaric, very dehumanizing.

It’s real difficult to get out of solitary confinement because every ticket that you catch while you’re there leads to more box time. So, it’s not uncommon to find someone who was sentenced to thirty days, or even ninety days, tested positive for marijuana or any other drug, and then end up in there for years at a time, accumulating numerous tickets while they’re in there. Something as simple as using your sheet as a shower curtain at Upstate CF could get you another thirty days in there.

From an advocate point of view, I would say that as a nation, we cannot keep victimizing people to teach them that they shouldn’t victimize people. It’s like the death penalty: We kill people to teach them not to kill people. It doesn’t make sense. We have to be careful about becoming the cure that is worse than the disease.


Capt. America said...

OTOH prison society is an abomination. Parolees are not supposed to associate but prisoners are? The lunatics are in charge of the asylum.

Anonymous said...

Cruel and unusual punishment, not far removed from prisoners of war, which is how slavery starts. Slavery is legal in prisons, a loophole. I am a Fugitive From a Chain Gang and Each Dawn I Die are prison movies from the 30s when everyone went to prison. Now prison is a taboo subject.

Anonymous said...

Let's face it. The culture that has evolved in the US gives lip service to humane and reasoned concern but is actually a training ground for psychopaths. Just look at how we resort to war at the slightest provocation. We love war. How many wars since 1900 have we been in? It brings out the meanest, most atrocious parts of the human psyche. Seems pretty obvious we like war. So it stands to reason we would also permit, nay inspire, brutalizing treatment of prisoners. Gotta feed the Moloch.