Alone For 28 Years

Jean Casella and James Ridgeway reprint the declaration of Thomas Silverstein, a prisoner "held in an extreme form of solitary confinement under a 'no human contact' order for 28 years":

I was not only isolated, but also disoriented in the side pocket. This was exacerbated by the fact that I wasn’t allowed to have a wristwatch or clock. In addition, the bright, artificial lights remained on in the cell constantly, increasing my disorientation and making it difficult to sleep. Not only were they constantly illuminated, but those lights buzzed incessantly. The buzzing noise was maddening, as there often were no other sounds at all. This may sound like a small thing, but it was my entire world. …

Nearly all of the time, the officers refused to speak to me. Despite this, I heard people who I believed to be officers whispering into my vents, telling me they hated me and calling me names. To this day, I am not sure if the officers were doing this to me, or if I was starting to lose it and these were hallucinations. In the side pocket cell, I lost some ability to distinguished what was real. I dreamt I was in prison. When I woke up, I was not sure which was reality and which was a dream.