From the November-December 2016 issue of News & Letters
I would like to comment on your article, “Humanism: A way forward for prisoners,” published in your Sept.-Oct. issue.
In the state of Pennsylvania the use of long-term solitary confinement has not ended. Pennsylvania Department of Corrections officials allege that it has. Yet they continue to utilize long-term solitary confinement for the smallest things.
I’ve been held in solitary confinement for the last nine years and seven months. I was 18 years old when they locked me in a small cell. At the age of 28 I’m still being confined. I’m due for release on May 12, 2018. I was one of the many prisoners abused at the infamous Secure Special Needs Unit that sparked the investigation of inmate abuse at SCI-Cresson.
I’ve fought for justice, yet this country doesn’t desire equality for prisoners. Men that I’ve known personally or known by name found that death was the quickest way to physical freedom. They committed suicide while in solitary confinement. Most recently at the prison I’m at, a prisoner killed himself while in general population. He’d simply had enough.
For those fighting solitary confinement, please remember that your fight is a long uphill battle. It will take effort from the masses. In Pennsylvania you rarely have the solidarity that you would find in California or Wisconsin. Prisoners in Pennsylvania die at high rates for a long time before someone recognizes there’s a problem.
I really would like to say thank you to all the convicts in California for making solitary confinement their target, for standing up to fight rather than kneel. Be well.
—C.B., Pennsylvania prisoner