On Saturday, dozens of peace activists ended a 150-mile walk to a Northwestern Illinois federal prison. They were protesting solitary confinement, according to the WQAD article:

Activists walk 150 miles to protest at Thomson Prison

The Walk included about 50 protesters from Voices for Creative Nonviolence, a Chicago-based group. It began on Saturday, May 28th, continued for 19 miles per day, until they reached the prison on Saturday, June 12th. Their destination was the front door of AUSP Thomson Prison, which is located in Thomson, IL, a 600-resident prison town.

Voices for Creative Nonviolence says it opposing many US prison practices that are inhumane. That includes the use of isolation cells, otherwise known as solitary confinement.

Buddy Bell, the Walk’s organizer is also pushing to get legislation passed that limits the amount of time an inmate can be held in isolation cells to five days within a 150-day time frame. If passed, the bill would also prohibit solitary confinement for prisoners under the age of 21, and some others.

A federal prison isolation cell, otherwise known as solitary confinement.

A federal prison isolation cell, otherwise known as solitary confinement.
Dan Lee/Shutterstock/Mother Jones

What Does Solitary Confinement Do to Your Mind?

Ask any Corrections Officer what solitary confinement is like. He/she will describe it as “the prison within the prison.” Inmates are kept inside isolation cells that measure just about 80-square-feet for 23 hours a day. In case those measurements mean nothing to you, that’s smaller than a regular-sized horse stable.

Isolation cells are are stripped down to the barest of the bare minimum. Inmates in solitary confinement are only allowed:

  • A bed
  • A toilet
  • A sink
  • A blanket
Advocates are trying to get legislation passed that limits the amount of time an inmate can spend in solitary confinement. Wisconsin Department of Corrections solitary confinement cell.

Advocates are trying to get legislation passed that limits the amount of time an inmate can spend in solitary confinement. Wisconsin Department of Corrections solitary confinement cell.
Image Source: Solitary Watch

Inmates aren’t allowed contact with the rest of the prison. There’s virtually no contact with humans whatsoever, except for the escort to a cage for one of of daily exercise. Food is even slid through a door slot to feed the

What are the Effects of Solitary Confinement on Prisoners?

Stuart Grassian, a former Harvard Medical School faculty member and board-certified psychiatrist, told FRONTLINE:

“One inmate I interviewed developed some obsession with his inability to feel like his bladder was fully empty.

Literally, that man spent hours, hours, 24 hours a day it was on his mind, hours standing in front of the toilet trying to pee … He couldn’t do anything else except focus on that feeling.”

Read Another Inmate Commits Suicide at CIW… Just 6 Weeks before Her Release Date

Wisconsin Department of Corrections Solitary Confinement Unit. Most state prisons call this are the SHU (Security Housing Units). There are no TVs, day rooms, tables or anything else.

Wisconsin Department of Corrections Solitary Confinement Unit. Most state prisons call this are the SHU (Security Housing Units). There are no TVs, day rooms, tables or anything else.
Image Source: Solitary Watch

Has your loved one had to spend time in solitary confinement? Did you notice a negative change after she/he was released from isolation cells? We’d love to hear what you’ve been going through. Share with us in the comments below.

 

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Kiesha Joseph is the owner of Content Marketing Geek Corporation. Her company provides white hat, inbound marketing services for small businesses, entrepreneurs, real estate professionals, bloggers and authors. Ms. Joseph enjoys swimming, cooking, eating, dancing, and of course writing. Kiesha is currently the managing content editor for Prison Rideshare Network news for inmates’ loved ones.