To Understand The Torture of Solitary Confinement It Must Be Taught From Those Who Have Suffered There
A Collective of People Directly Impacted Have Dedicated Themselves To being A Constant Visible Voice In The Public To End The Torture of Human Isolation For All Human Beings #StopSolitary
In the US today, more than 80,000 people – men, women, and children – live up to 23 hours a day in tiny cells without natural light, air, or human contact. Many remain there for months, years, or even decades.
The UN’s expert on torture considers more than 15 days in solitary confinement a human rights violation. The US is the only democratic nation that makes widespread use of long-term solitary confinement in its prisons, even for minor, nonviolent infractions as simple as having too many postage stamps.
Is solitary confinement torture? What effect does it have on the people who endure it?
While many of these seem too absurd to be true, they reflect actual infractions given to individuals in New York State prisons that landed them two weeks or more in solitary confinement. You can find the correlating violation in the Standards of Inmate Behavior Booklet (February 2006) using the violation codes. Want to spread awareness on this issue? “Ticket” your friends on Facebook.
What’s it like to spend 23 hours a day in a cell measuring 6×9 feet for days, weeks, months or even years? 6×9 is the Guardian’s first virtual reality experience, which places you inside a US solitary confinement prison cell and tells the story of the psychological damage that can ensue from isolation.
We’ve created a mobile app allowing you to fully experience VR on your own, with or without cardboard viewer. If you don’t have a smartphone scroll down to watch the 360° video.
Take the 360 degree video experience of solitary confinement in US prisons, which places viewers in a virtual segregation cell they can explore and interact with. It highlights the psychological effects of long-term solitary confinement for people who have experienced it first-hand around the world.
The injustice of solitary confinement and the transformative power of art are explored in Herman’s House, a feature documentary that follows the unlikely friendship between a New York artist and one of America’s most famous inmates as they collaborate on an acclaimed art project.
In 1972, New Orleans native Herman Joshua Wallace (b. 1941) was serving a 25-year sentence for bank robbery when he was accused of murdering an Angola Prison guard and thrown into solitary confinement. Many believed him wrongfully convicted. Appeals were made but Herman remained in jail and—to increasingly widespread outrage—in solitary. Years passed with one day much like the next. Then in 2001 Herman received a perspectiveshifting letter from a Jackie Sumell, a young art student, who posed the provocative question:
As a teenager, Ismael Nazario was sent to New York’s Rikers Island jail, where he spent 300 days in solitary confinement — all before he was ever convicted of a crime. Now as a prison reform advocate he works to change the culture of American jails and prisons, where young people are frequently subjected to violence beyond imagination. Nazario tells his chilling story and suggests ways to help, rather than harm, teens in jail.