Letters From The Hole: Solitary Confinement "Has Damaged Me Beyond Repair"

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The New York Civil Liberties Union recently released a report outlining the "inhumane, arbitrary use of solitary confinement" in New York state prisons.

Included in the report are handwritten letters from several inmates placed in segregated housing (solitary confinement) for various -- in many cases non-violent -- reasons. The letters describe what life is like for those locked in a cage for 23 hours a day.

The Voice will be publishing several of the letters in a series called
Letters From the Hole.

Today's inmate: Daniel has a long history of hurting himself, which is a violation of prison rules in New York. As a result, Daniel has spent "more than two decades cycling in and out of extreme isolation." His latest self-mutilation landed him in solitary confinement for four months. He says his life in isolation "has damaged me beyond repair."

See Daniel's letter below. 

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Letters From The Hole: Suicide In Solitary Confinement

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The New York Civil Liberties Union recently released a report outlining the "inhumane, arbitrary use of solitary confinement" in New York state prisons.

Included in the report are handwritten letters from several inmates placed in segregated housing (solitary confinement) for various -- in many cases non-violent -- reasons. The letters describe what life is like for those locked in a cage for 23 hours a day.

The Voice will be publishing several of the letters in a series called
Letters From the Hole.

Today's inmate: An inmate identified only as "Mr. Diaz" was in solitary confinement at Upstate Correctional Facility when he took his own life. Diaz, according to two other inmates, didn't speak English and the prison didn't provide him with a translator -- he was unable to ask for mental health services. The inmates wrote letters to prison officials on Diaz's behalf requesting help for their fellow inmate. Help never came, and Diaz committed suicide on May 21.

See the letters below.


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Letters From The Hole: Inmate Denied Mental Health Treatment For Nine Months. Then He Attempted Suicide

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The New York Civil Liberties Union recently released a report outlining the  "inhumane, arbitrary use of solitary confinement" in New York state prisons.

Included in the report are handwritten letters from several inmates placed in segregated housing (solitary confinement) for various -- in many cases non-violent -- reasons. The letters describe what life is like for those locked in a cage for 23 hours a day.

The Voice will be publishing several of the letters in a series called
Letters From the Hole.

Today's inmate: Daryl is an inmate at the Upstate Correctional Facility. He kept records of the multiple requests for mental health treatment he made while in extreme isolation. His requests, he says, were ignore for nine months. Then he tried to kill himself. See his letter below.

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Letters From The Hole: SHU Inmate Allowed Just Two Showers A Week. And That's Pretty Much It

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The New York Civil Liberties Union recently released a report outlining the  "inhumane, arbitrary use of solitary confinement" in New York state prisons.

Included in the report are handwritten letters from several inmates placed in segregated housing (solitary confinement) for various -- in many cases non-violent -- reasons. The letters describe what life is like for those locked in a cage for 23 hours a day.

The Voice will be publishing several of the letters in a series called
Letters From the Hole.

Today's inmate: Na'im is an inmate at New York's Southport Correctional Facility. His fourth trip to segregated housing was the result of an "unauthorized exchange," which essentially means he passed a note to another inmate without permission. Na'im opted to forgo recreation because he was afraid of what corrections officers would do to him while he was out of his cell. He was allowed just two showers a week, which were the only times he opted -- and was allowed -- to leave his cell. See his letter below.

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Letters From the Hole: New York Prison Inmate Gets a Year in Solitary Confinement for Smoking Pot

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The New York Civil Liberties Union recently released a report outlining the  "inhumane, arbitrary use of solitary confinement" in New York state prisons.

Included in the report are handwritten letters from several inmates placed in segregated housing (solitary confinement) for various -- in many cases non-violent -- reasons. The letters describe what life is like for those locked in a cage for 23 hours a day.

The Voice will be publishing several of the letters in a series called
Letters From the Hole.

Today's inmate: Chris, a New York state prison inmate, currently is serving a one-year sentence in extreme isolation. This means he's alone in his cell 23 hours a day. His infraction: testing positive for marijuana. This is Chris' seventh trip to the segregated housing unit. All of his prior offenses were non-violent -- primarily drug-related -- infractions. See his letter pleading for treatment below.

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Letters From The Hole: Here's A Poem From A Guy Who's Been In Solitary Confinement For 25 Years

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The New York Civil Liberties Union recently released a report outlining the "inhumane, arbitrary use of solitary confinement" in New York state prisons.

Included in the report are handwritten letters from several inmates placed in segregated housing (solitary confinement) for various -- in many cases non-violent -- reasons. The letters describe what life is like for those locked in a cage for 23 hours a day.

The Voice will be publishing several of the letters in a series called
Letters From the Hole.

Today's inmate: Billy has been in segregated housing for more than 25 years. According to the NYCLU, he's not there because he's broken any specific rules, but because the Department of Corrections considers him to be a threat -- and he might break the rules. 

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Letters From the Hole: SHU Inmate Says Prison Staff Confiscated His Son's Report Card

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Jen Ackerman's Trapped: Mental Illness In America's Prisons
This is one of several photos from a series on mental illness within the prison system by photographer Jen Ackerman.
The New York Civil Liberties Union recently released a report outlining the "inhumane, arbitrary use of solitary confinement" in New York state prisons.

Included in the report are handwritten letters from several inmates placed in segregated housing (solitary confinement) for various -- in many cases non-violent -- reasons. The letters describe what life is like for those locked in a cage for 23 hours a day.

The Voice will be publishing several of the letters in a series called
Letters From the Hole.

Today's inmate: Stefan, a prisoner at Southport Correctional Facility who was given six months in isolation for a fistfight at a different facility. Stefan received an additional 16 months in isolation after he tested positive for marijuana.

In July, Stefan claims prison officials denied him his son's report card, which was mailed to him but confiscated by prison officials. He says he needs the report card in order to perform his "fatherly role...given the circumstances."

According to Stefan, prison staff showed no interest in even acknowledging his grievance.

See his letter below.

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