Hell is a very small place Voices from solitary confinement

Book - 2016

"The UN Special Rapporteur on Torture has denounced the use of solitary confinement beyond fifteen days as a form of cruel and degrading treatment that often rises to the level of torture. Yet the United States holds more than eighty thousand people in isolation on any given day. Now sixteen authors vividly describe the miserable realities of life in solitary. In a book that will add a startling new dimension to the debates around human rights and prison reform, former and current prisoners... describe the devastating effects of solitary confinement on their minds and bodies, the solidarity expressed between individuals who live side by side for years without ever meeting one another face to face, the ever-present specters of madness and suicide, and the struggle to maintain hope and humanity. These firsthand accounts are supplemented by the writing of noted experts, exploring the psychological, legal, ethical, and political dimensions of solitary confinement, and a comprehensive introduction by James Ridgeway and Jean Casella. Sarah Shourd, herself a survivor of more than a year of solitary confinement, writes eloquently in a preface about an experience that changed her life. "--

Saved in:

2nd Floor Show me where

365.6440922/Hell
1 / 1 copies available
Location Call Number   Status
2nd Floor 365.6440922/Hell Checked In
Subjects
Published
New York : The New Press 2016.
Language
English
Physical Description
xii, 226 pages ; 22 cm
Bibliography
Includes bibliographical references.
ISBN
9781620971376
1620971372
Review by Library Journal Reviews

Solitary confinement is the practice by which certain prison inmates are locked in small dungeon-like cells for an indefinite time Here, Casella and James Ridgeway of the watch-dog group Solitary Watch, and Sarah Shourd, who was once a political prisoner in Iran, bring together 16 accounts by people still in solitary confinement, or those who have survived it, and several authorities on criminal justice. Far from light bedside reading, these are horrifying accounts of madness and a struggle for survival. It is often difficult to believe that the a experiences described are happening right now in America and not at some distant place in the Middle Ages. Many of the accounts will stick in one's mind, but this reviewer found among the most memorable to be William Blake's "A Sentence Worse Than Death," which won honorable mention in the 2013 Yale Law Journal's Prison Law Writing Contest. Once violent but now subdued, Blake writes eloquently of his attempt to make sense of it all. VERDICT A book for everyone who is at all interested in prisons, and certainly for students and teachers in the field of criminal justice.—Frances O. Sandiford, formerly with Green Haven Correctional Facility Lib., Stormville, NY [Page 118]. (c) Copyright 2016 Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Review by Publishers Weekly Reviews

In this grim, no-holds-barred exposé, 21 essays and academic papers critique the use of solitary confinement in prison, looking at the ruinous effects on those forced to endure it for weeks, months, years, or even decades at a time. Casella and Ridgeway are no strangers to this topic: they're the cofounders of Solitary Watch, a watchdog group formed to investigate the practice. Shourd, a journalist who spent 410 days as a political hostage in Iran from 2009 to 2010, brings firsthand knowledge. Selections written by former and current inmates assemble a litany of horror and shocking treatment, backing the argument that no one deserves this level of punishment, regardless of the crimes committed. "Solitary confinement for the length of time that I have endured it... is torture of a terrible kind," states William Blake, who has been held in solitary for more than 20 years after murdering a deputy and wounding another in an escape attempt from a courtroom, in his essay "A Sentence Worse than Death." While it's obvious that the editors are pursuing an agenda and the contributors likewise have an undeniable bias, these stories pack a visceral punch and make a convincing case for more humane conditions, better oversight, and continuing prison reform. (Feb.) [Page ]. Copyright 2015 PWxyz LLC

Review by Publisher Summary 1

"The UN Special Rapporteur on Torture has denounced the use of solitary confinement beyond fifteen days as a form of cruel and degrading treatment that often rises to the level of torture. Yet the United States holds more than eighty thousand people in isolation on any given day. Now sixteen authors vividly describe the miserable realities of life in solitary. In a book that will add a startling new dimension to the debates around human rights and prison reform, former and current prisoners describe thedevastating effects of solitary confinement on their minds and bodies, the solidarity expressed between individuals who live side by side for years without ever meeting one another face to face, the ever-present specters of madness and suicide, and the struggle to maintain hope and humanity. These firsthand accounts are supplemented by the writing of noted experts, exploring the psychological, legal, ethical, and political dimensions of solitary confinement, and a comprehensive introduction by James Ridgeway and Jean Casella. Sarah Shourd, herself a survivor of more than a year of solitary confinement, writes eloquently in a preface about an experience that changed her life. "--

Review by Publisher Summary 2

Sixteen authors describe the misery of life in solitary confinement, which has been denounced as a cruel and degrading punishment by the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture, and explore the psychological, legal, ethical and political issues surrounding the practice.

Review by Publisher Summary 3

Sixteen former and current prisoners describe their experiences in solitary confinement and journalists, legal experts, and prison activists review the legal, ethical, and psychological effects of the inhumane practice, which often carries the specter ofmurder and suicide.

Review by Publisher Summary 4

“An unforgettable look at the peculiar horrors and humiliations involved in solitary confinement” from the prisoners who have survived it (New York Review of Books).   On any given day, the United States holds more than eighty-thousand people in solitary confinement, a punishment that—beyond fifteen days—has been denounced as a form of cruel and degrading treatment by the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture.   Now, in a book that will add a startling new dimension to the debates around human rights and prison reform, former and current prisoners describe the devastating effects of isolation on their minds and bodies, the solidarity expressed between individuals who live side by side for years without ever meeting one another face to face, the ever-present specters of madness and suicide, and the struggle to maintain hope and humanity. As Chelsea Manning wrote from her own solitary confinement cell, “The personal accounts by prisoners are some of the most disturbing that I have ever read.”   These firsthand accounts are supplemented by the writing of noted experts, exploring the psychological, legal, ethical, and political dimensions of solitary confinement.   “Do we really think it makes sense to lock so many people alone in tiny cells for twenty-three hours a day, for months, sometimes for years at a time? That is not going to make us safer. That’s not going to make us stronger.” —President Barack Obama   “Elegant but harrowing.” —San Francisco Chronicle   “A potent cry of anguish from men and women buried way down in the hole.” —Kirkus Reviews