[ View the story "29,000 US prisoners on #CAHungerStrike " on Storify] 29,000 US prisoners on #CAHungerStrike Inmates say prison conditions amount to 'torture'.
The Stream· Wed, Jul 10 2013 12:48:49
The video below features one prisoner's sister, who says: "My brother has been locked in solitary confinement for 29+ years. The last time I was able to touch my brother was in 1982."
ALL OUT FOR CA PRISONER HUNGER STRIKE 2013PBHungerStrike
Inmates are can be held for up to
23 hours per day
in solitary confinement, otherwise known as Special Housing Units (SHU), for
to prison gangs. Some are placed in these units for
, and while officials argue ties to gangs can be corroborated, others claim there is no evidence.
In a project with the non-profit organisation Truthout, two prisoners have shared their personal testimonies online. Inmate Richard Wembe Johnson
Coming to the SHU has opened my eyes to the harsh realities of physical and mental torture. Before this, I only had a vague idea what mental torture might be like. Now I know it is 10 times worse than I had imagined. It is a challenge each day just to remain sane. I experience a wide and shifting range of emotions, including depression, hopelessness, antipathy, anxiety and humiliation, and I have chronic insomnia.truth-out.org
Eighteen years ago, I committed the crime that brought me here: burgling an unoccupied dwelling. Under the state's "three strikes" law, I was sentenced to between 25 years and life in prison. From that time, I have been forced into solitary confinement for alleged "gang affiliation." I have made desperate and repeated appeals to rid myself of that label, to free myself from this prison within a prison, but to no avail.truth-out.org
Unless you have lived it, you cannot imagine what it feels like to be by yourself, between four cold walls, with little concept of time, no one to confide in, and only a pillow for comfort - for years on end. It is a living tomb.truth-out.org
Some on Twitter echoed the sentiment that solitary confinement is detrimental:
SHU confinement is additional punishment, on top of imprisonment. #pbhungerstrike #CAhungerstrikePrisonReformMovement
Inmates will never be reformed citizens after having their MINDS DESTROYED in solitary confinement in CA prisons. #CAHungerStrikeRepublican Jesus
by the Center for Investigative Reporting shows inmates at California's Pelican Bay Prison who've lived under years of solitary confinement.