Boxed In: Am I Not Of Man?

by
Abby Zimet

Adrian, a prisoner in an isolation cell in a New York State prison, clipped this picture from a newspaper, added motivational sayings and hung it on his cell wall to remind him of his dream to "work in an office one day."

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Every year, one of every four people in New York's state prisons - about 13,500 - serves at least five months in extreme isolation in a confined cell they call “the box,” most for offenses like sharing magazines, having too many postage stamps or "reckless eyeballing." This week, the New York Civil Liberties Union released a report charging that New York’s use of solitary confinement is "arbitrary, inhumane and unsafe," and constitutes "a human rights crisis" mirrored across the country. They issued the report, "Boxed In: The True Cost of Extreme Isolation in New York's Prisons," after a year-long investigation, along with letters, poems, and photos from many of those held. They're also holding a week of events to draw attention to the issue.

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