Solitary


First Light Productions

There are many ways to destroy a person–or an animal. But the simplest and most devastating might be solitary confinement.

Consider the following testimony from prisoners interviewed by the psychiatrist Stuart Grassian in Block 10 of Walpole Penitentiary in 1982:

  • I went to a standstill psychologically once — lapse of memory. I didn’t talk for 15 days. I couldn’t hear clearly. You can’t see — you’re blind — block everything out — disoriented, awareness is very bad. Did someone say he’s coming out of it? I think what I’m saying is true — not sure. I think I was drooling — a complete standstill.
  • I seem to see movements — real fast motions in front of me. Then seems like they’re doing things behind your back — can’t quite see them. Did someone just hit me? I dwell on it for hours.
  • Melting, everything in the cell starts moving; everything…

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