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."

 

 

 

 

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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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