I believe that very few men are capable of estimating

the immense amount of torture and agony Any imposition of
which this dreadful punishment, prolonged for years, solitary confinement
inflicts upon the sufferers.... I hold this slow and beyond 15 days
daily tampering with the mysteries of the brain, to be constitutes torture.
immeasurably worse than any torture of the body. Juan E. Méndez, United Nations special
Charles Dickens, on visiting prisoners in solitary rapporteur, August 5, 2011
confinement at the Eastern State Penitentiary in Philadelphia, 1842

DAWN the prison system. Though it was created
Brian Nelson (over 23 years in solitary 1): to reduce violence, solitary increases it.
I don’t know if you can even grasp what it’s Though it is meant to be a deterrent, solitary
like just to be in this gray box. promotes recidivism. Though some author-
ities still believe the medieval fiction that it
Javier Panuco (over 5 years in solitary): fosters personal redemption through habits
Sometimes I can still smell it: the same of meditation and penitence, solitary irrepa-
soap everybody used, the smell of mildew, rably harms the human psyche. Researchers
the smell of the algae that we had on our believe it damages the body and brain as well,
concrete yard. but they can’t test this hypothesis, because
what we do to prisoners every day—house
Jacob Barrett (over 20 years in solitary): them in prolonged isolation—is illegal to do
It smells like the toilet of a men’s locker room to laboratory animals. It is against the law to
at a run-down YMCA. It’s people farting, treat rats the way we treat people in solitary.
burping, and sweating, smearing shit A convict can be banished to solitary at a
on their walls and windows, flooding toilets correctional o∞cer’s whim, for nearly any
full of piss and shit. reason: assault, gambling, mouthing o≠,
failing to clean his cell, singing, filing griev-
Shawn Smith (15 years in solitary): ances, even (incredibly) attempting suicide.
I’ve had these cell walls make me see Above and below: Cells at the Pelican Bay He can also be sent there for activism or
delusions. I’ve tried to kill myself a few SHU (Secure Housing Unit) in California holding unpopular views—essentially, as a
times. I’ve smeared my own blood political prisoner.
on my cell walls and ceiling. I would cut Solitary has become an American gulag—
myself just to see my own blood. “the place they dump the trash they most
want to be forgotten,” as one convict put it
Danny Johnson (24 years in solitary): to me. According to the Bureau of Justice
The worst thing that’s ever happened to Statistics, the number of prisoners in solitary
me in solitary confinement happens every on any given day is approximately 90,000.
day. It’s when I wake up. No national database exists to track who
they are, how long they’ve been held there,
Steven Czifra (8 years in solitary): or why. Compared with free citizens, they
That’s what people don’t understand when are at least five times as likely to be mentally
you try to explain. I’m there for eight ill. A City of New York study suggests they
years, and in that eight years, they have are nearly three times as likely as prisoners
eight years of experiences. I have one in the general population to be black and
day of experiences. Every day is the same. nearly twice as likely to be Latino.
During President Obama’s two terms in
o∞ce, there was a tentative awakening to
I. AN AMERICAN GULAG the barbarity of the practice, and modest
there are two kinds of solitary confine- reform began to take hold at the state level.
ment in the United States. One starves a pris- President Trump, however, campaigned on
oner’s senses. The other overwhelms them. a harshly punitive criminal-justice platform,
G R O O M I N G : S C O T T M C M A H A N AT K AT E R YA N I N C .

In a Supermax—a high-tech dungeon Alternatively, in seg—an isolation cell in a and since his victory, he has surrounded
specifically designed to warehouse men max-security prison—he hears the screams himself with Reagan-era proponents of
in isolation—a prisoner has virtually no and rants of other convicts echoing through mass incarceration, including an attorney
contact with other human beings. Locked the tier, morning and night. Sometimes he is general–designate, Je≠ Sessions, who ped-
behind a slab of steel into a cell smaller than so cold that he wears both his jacket and his dles the alarmist conservative lie—crime
a parking space, he touches only cement. shoes to bed, or so hot he wraps his body in is skyrocketing!—that has led nearly every
He hears only the incessant hum of a dim wet rags. Doors slam, walkie-talkies crackle,
fluorescent light that never goes o≠. If he’s keys jingle. If he ever gets out of prison, these 1. Andre Scott, 1 month in solitary
fortunate, he’ll have a window. sounds will trigger him for the rest of his life.
2. Reginald Dwayne Betts, 1 year
Solitary confinement, the practice of iso-
3. Ojore Lutalo, 22 years
1. Because records are often inaccessible or nonexistent,
lating a human being in a cell for 22 to 24
hours a day, has become a punishment of 4. Danny Murillo, 7 years
some prisoners can’t provide an exact accounting of the
duration of their time in solitary. first resort in America. It is the prison of 5. Ray Luc Levasseur, 13 years >>

156 GQ.COM MARCH 2017

1 2 4 3 .

6:00 A . The first all-solitary- You have only so much time to eat. solitary): I pity the person who is in solitary For this article. 80 percent of responding state and federal juris- food port. but I finished one meal.5 There is no other real and former prisoners. try to Our vision is only a little square on the top commit suicide. dictions said they allowed radios. M . solitary appears to Tennessee discriminate by race. and they turn right around 8:45 A . 2015 state in the country to build a Supermax. Some of these prisoners committed heinous Ryan Rising (4 years in solitary): You have crimes. minds of human beings. Texas Flor Our solitary population would 69% *Figure represents total be the U. solitary population* 450. Sometimes they mess with you: They pass New York. solitary population. As soon as it came.122 51% Texas 97% New Jersey South Carolina 546 1. 158 GQ. GQ interviewed 48 current who cannot read.’s 6. We have this administration spending much time to lift our testicles. yard. but you got nothing paroled. From the time You’re supposed to get an hour a day. people will pay just to fact. a juice or milk. 4. only 18 months of operation. solitary during the year. If you are uncircumcised. too. M . It would be gone in two seconds. when the gov- and pick up the trays. If you ain’t working out. violent crime declined by 39 percent We must open our mouths to show our gums look at a stinking bargain-books catalog. Isolation Nation U. (In Gerard Schultz (18 years in solitary): Barrett: In Florida.” This They used to call the yard “the Dark Ages.C. between 1980 and 2014. o∞cials.S. Solitary Watch.” is what one day.000 Miami 441. solitary): In my program. three days to get them to fix it. you are told to pull your foreskin back. requested pseudonyms because they fear repri- to open the door. I start to pace. “but I didn’t deserve to be tortured. II. Solitary Racial Makeup Population Compared Percentage of male inmates in solitary who are: with U. But that TV goes out? The guards’ll come right in with Clint Terrell (4 years in solitary): Most of Victoria Brown (5 years in solitary): another one. sals by correctional o∞cials. me. which is approximately 26 feet. and a Our time is spent pacing the length of the have a flooding toilet and be hollering package of sugar. Hamlet.S. from isolation’s earliest use in this Johnson: That’s the end of my out-of-cell country. after the food out. both recently Panuco: Every time you think they’re going to understand it. I’d be looking forward that never happens. of the wall. If there’s a raindrop. Soup for the Soul—that was a popular one. Cities By the Numbers N AT I V E H I S PA N I C BLACK AMERICAN Virginia Beach 452. I would just it’s canceled.003 Oakland 419. then from murder to burglary to carjacking to You feel like Silence of the Lambs. many did not. Their o≠enses range Daniela Medina4 (4 months in solitary): to work out. M . parts of the Aeneid. top of my head. researchers.S. 2.878 U.092 51% 70% Like the system itself. A SOCIAL DEATH devour it. Two Cesar Francisco Villa (15 years in solitary): The idea is TV acts as a pacifier. Chicken al-abuse survivors or because of a greater risk of sta≠ are waiting for you to take them outside. and activists. every day. 14 percent of all prisoners are illiterate.267 State Solitary Populations* Kentucky South Carolina New York Connecticut 74 1 N AT I O N W I D E 47 5 N AT I O N W I D E N AT I O N W I D E Michigan 794 483 23 Colorado Washington. confinement prison in the U. George Hernandez (over 10 years in Nelson: I used to be able to recite what 6. we’ve known what it does to the Caminante Azul3 (over 15 years in solitary): movement for the day. lawyers.2 as well as corrections Hope: Some inmates are required to wear stimulation. South Dakota 66% California 1.301 2. D. Romeo ernor visited and (continued on page 160) and Juliet. defined as the 43rd-largest city. to the next.S. paper masks. You hope a plane flies over. and the ACLU points out they are uniquely vulnerable there—because.S.COM MARCH 2017 . in Auburn. up our mats and hang them from the light “I did deserve to go to prison.) It’s hard to foresee and under our tongues and lips. they would only re-traumatizes the 60 percent of them who are sexu- I truly know how a dog feels when they give us access to treatment books. the time you were starving. Robert Saleem Holbrook (10 years in worrying about more humane prisons. Schultz: Prisoners without TVs or radios 6 Federico Flores (16 years in solitary): act out more—mutilate themselves. 5. Caminante Azul and Victoria Brown. You’ve got to read the same page 50 times sent the conditions or policies of any single institution. your anger is going to boil up. sexual misconduct. Terrell: I read Julius Caesar. According to the National Center for Education Statis- tics. was shut down in 1822. We’d roll extortion to drug possession or distribution.. Glenn Turner (24 years in solitary): Ray Luc Levasseur (13 years in solitary): My breakfast consists of a kid’s meal. In a 2014 survey conducted by Yale Law School’s Liman solitary): They handcu≠ you through your was on a tube of Colgate toothpaste o≠ the Program. you run to it.S. 57 percent permitted TVs. Massachusetts 35% number of prisoners who have spent any time in *Figures represent number of prisoners known to be in solitary at press time. 2014. Women make up less than 1 percent of the population Dennis Hope (22 years in solitary): Chris Medina-Kirchner (6 months in in solitary.745 Atlanta 463. 3. to do but read.41 annual U. This collective portrait of life in solitary doesn’t repre- 7:30 A . for example. the scrutiny My palms and feet get moist. Sources: Yale Law School/Liman Program. of their lives is like. parts of Dante’s Inferno. I read the Iliad.” one man told Danny Murillo (7 years in solitary): and punch them like a punching bag. You could half bowls of cereal.

5 .

when refused medication because he didn’t want were found in the juice cooler. After about two weeks. He filled a Styrofoam will somehow drown out their loneliness and wringing out towels and laundry. BIGMANN” Grier (5 years in soli- keep myself focused. into his cell. In studies. But I mean. I never heard from Nutraloaf—a foul food loaf of I don’t know The impact on human beings was scarcely him after that. then lay down and whistle passing a graveyard. I watched all of this through the crack on Ojore Lutalo (22 years in solitary): First. A watered-down tea or juice. so none of us ever did it. He we were advised not to drink because roaches into widespread use until the 1970s. in three states. 160 GQ. who made a long-ass hose to the guy that’s in aging the tedium. doesn’t drive men crazy. be from something being put in or onto my only to witness him slit his own throat in the sheets. crickets—or their body parts inside.* o∞cials deployed it to suppress a grow. You could connect those tubes was just really basic things: Can I do 100 push- ill cancer patients and people in rural com. has to in order to survive. Holbrook: After lunch. oner. died. they line to a piece of soap or a peanut-butter packet to myself. whose lives have gone on without him. You’ll start Hope: If you lose your mind. the way a superstitious person would that’s normal. I’ve got to marijuana while he was on probation. etc. and slide it out your door. other. The suicide rate in solitary is five to ten times Reginald Dwayne Betts (1 year in solitary): I higher than it is in the general prison popu.” posed to get. this allegation. a tiny ink cartridge in this clear I hoped I prepared myself for.7 any di≠erent than it had been in 1822. You develop a potbelly. Some would put their feces bed and stare at the ceiling for an hour or so. ily about cleanliness and poison. And for whatever reason I don’t like you. too. weapons. They will try let and holler into it. I would think I was seeing stu≠ began giving us our full issue. If you maintain going through the changes. and drugs. PTSD. You try to talk your sanity. tomato paste. Your hands lock up. let them know that I got it. then they dis. depending on my documents the psychic anguish of isolation— tice. Leon Benson (11 years in solitary): The oppres- sive environment causes many solitary prison- Jose Flores (11 years in solitary): You get a William Casiano (18 months in solitary): An ers to have verbal diarrhea. bor throws his line out the door. A body of literature going back decades Lutalo: The feces thing—that’s a common prac. It’ll most likely ing to engage a young kid in conversation. wouldn’t eat. Sometimes it these prisoners do—among them terminally plastic tube. through the other toilet a little bit. on the dinner tray and pass it back. door. he Carlos “MR. middle of answering a question. “grieves for the person only giving us half of the rations we were sup- he used to be. A prisoner held in solitary confinement the cell next to him and shot him down with and it was finding a way to get lost in that.m. • • • Holbrook: To witness this is like being in a 10:45 a. what the fuck. Solitary didn’t come back friend had some psychological problems. notes. over and over. Todd Ashker (28 years in solitary): Sta≠ were Casiano: We write “kites. mood. it acts as a megaphone. to poison me by some means or another. cate in the shower. encourage him to come out. Gregory Koger (over 7 years in solitary): spent a lot of time obsessing over a future that lation. ing prisoners’-rights movement. The line keeps on moving because it canned and often have insects—grasshoppers. sonal hygiene. tal illness while you’re there? There was a like that. They would do it to COs [correc- • • • ones. and the prisoner in the next cell can hear you doubt that it will be by food. Stop talking to a psychologist. self-mutilation. soups. The halluci. You can pass co≠ee the vent. nobody to think that he was weak.* so we filled milk cartons with Terrell: We would spin the elastic out of the shit and flung it all over every time we’d come waistbands of our boxers. you’re a potential informant. vegetable oil. often feels he has ceased to exist to his loved piss and shit. a pioneer in 1:00 p.m. panic attacks. We get saw that every one of its 26 prisoners had depressed. Koger: Say you and me are in a cell next to each the prisoner starts neglecting their per. it was managing minutiae. dry oatmeal. until they have prisoner informants and listening he crushed his skull in. door and all over his room. the side of my cell door.” or notes. I started talking out for showers. As if making noise lot of OCD in the SHU. We’d have to stand on top of the sinks. because Barrett was housed: Combine carrots. I Turner: I once stood at my cell door attempt. Levasseur: If you take the water out of the toi- devices directed toward me. The serv- ings are so small you’re lucky to get five bites. And once they got you on the drugs. which the other day become psychotic. dry grits. cut o≠ part of one of his testicles. but all of us had them real bad. only a few groups have ever They used to give you these little pens called I could neither predict nor imagine but at least reported feeling as crushed by loneliness as security pens. I either continue reading or lie on my severe depression. He wouldn’t come out. toilet seat. You with a [previously diagnosed] mental illness. spinach. hallucinations. I’ve heard of guys ups in a day? Can I do 200? Solitary was man- munities who are su≠ering from AIDS. rage. water. I simply have remained alive. stood on top of the cement bunk and dove mine. cup with blood and flung it on the glass of the fear. troop line marching across a parched desert Hope: Lunch usually is some form of “pot and seeing a man collapse out of the line from meal” that has noodles in it. You self-possession and dignity? I can’t say that I do the shu±e. So I will spend 24 hours straight banging on seeing a distant look in their eyes: They’re credit your account of things. they say that’s proof that solitary 7. tional o∞cers]. and he also tary): I could talk through the ventilation sys- cut o≠ some of his fingers. Craig Haney of UC Santa Cruz.* I’ve been put on Arizona o∞cials created the first Supermax. In 1987. where side. at he just snapped. the cell and on himself. you’re gone. guy who was there because he’d smoked Federico Flores: You start thinking. we are liable macho culture. Panuco: There’s this stigma about seeking C O N T I N U E D F R O M PAG E 1 5 8 help. And have. Some mentally ill prisoners would defe. where the dawn of the age of mass incarceration. S O LI TARY C O NFI NEMENT you do the smack-mouth [makes rapid Turner: What methods do I use to maintain my lip-smacking noise].COM MARCH 2017 . He Barrett: I’ve been put on half rations. The recipe in the Florida system. calls this “social death”: “The pris. I’ve got blisters from older man cut his wrists. You would tie that Nelson: Within the first week. and he pulls it about. He’ll withdraw. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes at 325 degrees. together to make a hose. Nutraloaf is so disgusting it has actually been banned to the prisoner. One day. whatever. He just rubbed feces all over I only get half the food. dried they’re trying to get you on psychotropic *A spokesperson for the prison facility in question denies beans. I’d bang on the floor or the wall to hear voices on the stair or coming through What happens when you develop a men. paranoia. and then your neigh- out of the corner of my eye. There’s this Casiano: When we get beans. The vegetables are thirst. I know headfirst into the toilet. so if someone sees that you’re to get rocks or pebbles with them. and the two nations—it’s not something a lot of us talk Nelson: The rule was nobody could be there lines get tangled up together. the field.” he explains. pillowcase. Another guy tem to [another prisoner] whose cell was under Turner: My obsessive thoughts are primar.

but ple have been known to remove one cord at 8. Sometimes I an hour. and I’ll do what’s called “shutting it a sudden. real or imagined. There’s plague out of Egypt. The guard would open Now he’s going to the general population—a ever had and dwell upon every major or minor your door in the morning—at that point. would arrive—another denial. see if you’ll admit that you don’t know. He used that as a cutter to score the Czifra: You weren’t allowed to talk to any. I get a Dolores Canales (16 months in solitary): You going to send to the hole. I’m trying to keep up morale. People would get stuck I didn’t want him to send somebody else to Koger: You get all your meals in a nine-hour with soap in their face and eyes. depression. his long handwritten letter to the magazine had temerity to file a Section 1983 [asserting a see if you care enough that you will find out. These peo- solitary was supposed to be four months. then come back and take you to the earlobe o≠ me by biting me. you and remark that maybe you ought to write to • • • have to have the shampoo in your hair when someone about it. realize III. which took a month to reach you. lopes. One prisoner. I Huntsville.S O L I TA RY C O N F I N E M E N T C O N T I N U E D your wall. wrote to ask if GQ had Thomas Bartlett Whitaker (10 years in soli. ping. for me. inmate can get his hands on. mild steel in his cell and make a stout weapon. rotten veggies.000 • • • tion escapes being dehumanized by it. tained energy of men literally buried alive. People with hep C brew cups of rassing to admit. But in the zero-sum equation Human Rights Watch has written that of corrections. Then he would shoot you in the face with Schultz: I have thoughts of my enemies and mace. during increased workloads. Officer Justin Cooper (correctional o∞cer at end of the day. who experience high rates of federal lawsuit. a CO union in part because of gang-related violence. and sta∞ng shortages. I’d In 2013. They would call it “tip. the guards arrive at your door. presi. plumbing chase and got hold of the steel hose talking to me tonight. it was like torture.” clamps.m. rapes. Pelican Bay have been returned to the gen. That was don’t notice it during the cell search. urges. watch them: They’d get in the room. Brown: There was this girl that the guard was Barrett: On Tuesdays and Thursdays.” So I let this guy touch me. I don’t know how to stop it. tilt you for. in isolation units. He accessed his in the magazines.10 nounced in COs assigned to isolation units. to just close this place down?” And if they do. Ricardo Noble. 2:00 p. N O O N E I N V O L V E D with mass incarcera. Medina-Kirchner: We got five-minute show. The resulting publicity sparked a includes COs. substance the state settled in 2015 by agreeing to end Joseph Dole (10 years in solitary): Mail was abuse. wouldn’t know if you’d been caught or not. “Somebody’s got to do something “red death.m. You get moved to sections filled with psych patients who bang on their Powell: Some o∞cers feel the inmates are get- Holbrook: The noise in solitary is the con. We were like. and you’d be grateful and everybody as a badge. mice will get scrape the cu≠s on my scalp. Panuco: Solitary didn’t reduce your sexual handcu≠ you behind your back. Because you ain’t the reporting of this piece. State Prison was the site of the signal event in your noodles or cookies [from commissary]. and just back out. Lutalo: Some people get addicted. tary more than any other state in America. This o∞cer requested a pseudonym for his and his my program was reset hundreds of times. You try to talk to someone down the violation of your constitutional rights]. PB&J sandwich for dinner. they’d wear that catch myself moving my hands. If you’re dumb enough the nervous laughter: “When are they going • • • to wonder why you have such an unfortu. to make 9. I used to tell myself that it wasn’t rape period. a letter saying a family member dent of AFSCME Local 3807. let you sizzle for Cooper: If these people were able to get my violent encounters with them. that person to talk to someone else. which is highly processed water. that spread across the state to include 30. with me. seg. inmate has an uncanny ability to make weap. “Going into hell for decades at a time gang association. the prisoners’ gain has been Rising: You start feeling abandoned. You weaknesses. A third of them su≠er from both indefinite solitary and solitary based on really stressful. and even a kind of human cockfight. it signifies the torture. hours. you’d get real aggressive. to feel you out. Guards must now contend with feeling. Turner: You rerun every conversation you’ve body after lights-out.* freezing cold. power and influence. To wash my hair. I think I masturbated more in prison ward. they get names: “She’s happens to people who misbehave. in the history of solitary-confinement activ. crush their face. MARCH 2017 GQ. your mail starts to disappear. You can’t buy commissary in seg. more confisca- will wear you out. because it would happen every week. “accidentally” popped open. because ers. the answer to. a bow. the guards would every person on that yard. Ty Evans (3 years in solitary): I’ve had to shower while handcu≠ed. Captives and Captors municating through drainpipes in the yard. been returned without explanation. would be happy. You start correctional o∞cers “know they can get the COs’ loss.9 They are constantly assessing you by paper spear fired from an improvised bow. there’s no food there. domestic violence. When it was too hot. which 4:30 p. we would just • • • ism: a hunger strike. You’ll bitch about it. “Why are you picking on the regular dinner. asking you questions that they already know 10. 4:00 p. California had used soli. It’s embar- shower. and she was frag. Ashker v. at Pelican Bay for 18 years): One long-term cheekbones. organized by men com. so that we family’s protection. There’s little else to look for- ing in which the doors of rival prisoners are Pelican Bay for 23 years): These people have ward to. and breed ting everything. Texas. They warn that removing gang members from getting your mail. Maybe they’re even listening to down”—make so much noise it’s impossible for start catching infractions that aren’t even see if you have money problems.” Indeed. You never knew what bad news PTSD. The women They were communicating to us: This is what ons out of almost anything. Then you don’t eat again for like 15 because I said. her? You know she ain’t wrapped right. they’ll just smile at you where do we all go? Holbrook: If you want to wash your hair. eral population. unnecessary. There is reason to believe more than two-thirds of solitary prisoners at would get panic attacks when a parcel I knew that these e≠ects may be even more pro.” says Lance Lowry. nate new address. a time out of their elastic boxers. had died. physically possible. That prisoners. in tion notices. ous claims of predatory behavior by guards solitary confinement is a grave mistake. I will. GQ heard numer. ain’t nobody know what’s going on away with excessive. That’s better than have no control of the temperature of the ile. I was 16. California. Sergeant Drew Powell8 (correctional o∞cer than I did as a teenager. My first stretch in feces and throw it into your face.” People would often break their nose. the SHU at California’s Pelican Bay Brown: In the general population. and a red juice we call was like. But in seg. He’d close the door.” He food. walls all night. and suicide. purely malicious violence. All of They’re trying to figure out your strengths and gallery. and let you go. should have arrived wasn’t given to me.m. Hope: Once mail is passed out.” It will stain cement.COM 161 .m. the union president. Lance Lowry. clouds of gnats that descend upon you like a but we’re seeing safety be diminished. you Disneyland of way more things than a SHU slight sent your way. If you don’t stay on your routine. smear their feces. including beatings. you were being a little jerk. told GQ a colleague had to be life-flighted after being struck by a metal-tipped how I did four years. It might be as simple as • • • hanging his rain jacket on the pull-up bar— Frankie Guzman (13 months in solitary): If that’s the signal for his entire gang to attack 7:00 p. to check your a policy against receiving mail in 9½-by-12½-inch enve- tary): It gets even worse when you have the ego. or even frequent court audits of prison conditions. Today. lose some teeth.

we made eye contact. I really had nowhere to like shit. in a way. C O N T I N U E D F R O M PAG E 1 1 2 We never got anything hot in solitary. As a Levasseur: I have violent flashbacks. Whenever I enter a room. I’m very we knew for sure it was true. is to hide in the bush. • • • 11:00 p. called The Bull & Last—evening. tion of truth and holding people to account for prison. twisting it or distorting it. He he’s talked about any of this. I’m dunking the mop in the toilet. This is what happened with I’m very aggressive out here still. tigers. then he a≠ord complacency anymore. Rising: I do struggle to fall in love with women. Cameron’s name turned to pudding when men in isolation. They had to be coaxed out months ago. astic re-tweets of film promotion and causes he ing mental state on his time in isolation. initiation rite. he says—about goes. there’s all the drugs in the world that you’re being humiliated. nine pictures of Hiddleston and a “mystery I would punch them in their fucking face. It felt like going to a jungle.” Raemisch she could touch me on almost any part of after I returned to the States. looking me tion. It’s too fast. This is the first time go. They feel safest in their cells. the animal response you could ask for. ‘Run!’ ” couldn’t be touched. and to solitary is they’re pulling the rug out. ner. nathaniel penn is a gq correspondent. For the record. memoir by Ur-tracker hero Tom Brown Jr. going to massages and ding each other farewell. Tom Clements. was murdered even get in the bathtub because I had this fix about the world right now is what he calls on his doorstep by a white supremacist vision of me bleeding and dying in a fucking our “strange public distrust of experts. to make 162 GQ. “If you’re under attack. became accustomed to the noise or you mula on my throat. All this movement. on his companion’s steak…”). S O L I TA RY C O N F I N E M E N T C O N T I N U E D TOM HI D D LES TO N Guzman: I couldn’t make sense of what was Azul: Three times I was released directly from happening to me. Koger: There was one period I couldn’t the things Tom Hiddleston is determined to decessor. a friend sent says. “Go inside there. He used to politely beg o≠. and There’s no buildup. any- Holbrook: How did one go to sleep? You thing cold. Panuco: We would put toothpaste on the light I ate a spicy piece of chicken and I couldn’t and block it out. if the left. only Hiddleston’s narration is about him Prisoners become maladapted to their iso. to really resist this dilu- oner too dangerous even for a max-security a way out. He does an impression refused to leave. And guess where that all came oners will live among us again: “How do you tal beatings I’ve ever seen. When I went rock solid and hard. When the parole street being a couple and that makes me feel So yes.” he says. I was don’t plan to “re-adjust. Koger: Three-dimensional stu≠ was shock- Andre Scott (1 month in solitary): If they want ing—driving down a street while the trees are to. I was hugging him because we were saying good-bye after two days and because: Panuco: I went from absolute solitary confine. W H E N R I C K R A E M I S C H . You look to living. and I had no power over it. which consists solely of enthusi- Clements’s killer had blamed his deteriorat. executive director my room. one tweet stands out: a Guardian arti- result of the pioneering step-down program a major thing. rug is going to be pulled out from underneath powerful democracies. if you’re being shamed. consequences be damned. It was sticking his dick into a dead pig’s head as an Raemisch’s mantra that 95 percent of all pris. My heart is still of his roles. Where would we be without experts. breathe because of the heat and the spices. news. somebody I saw undergo one of the most bru. and if you don’t like it. me—everybody’s going to leave. but we Tom Clements’s killer. and the next you’re not. down from 1. we dump him onto Czifra: It took my partner five years before (As if to underscore this: A few days a bus. he says. Which is why it’s time for “a movement adox of solitary confinement: We label a pris. and it’s the second par. In prison.m. anything beyond the scope I’ll get you a hotel voucher. and of David Attenborough’s voice-over for Planet using commissary treats and therapy dogs. You scrub the toilet all day and night. and then. “I Plan Some Payback” in a container because I don’t like to go out of believed to have trained in the 1960s. Azul: The hardest thing is being around peo. We’re at a pub he likes in Hampstead Heath of the Colorado Department of Corrections. sion. fake news is a thing. I’m cleaning the house. He brought me to a homeless shelter. he sees that’s no longer an option. and researched a jungle-warfare school in • • • ple. day two—eat- opened their cell doors. them up. everything’s Which is why he’s decided to step into Rising: They just opened the door one day. But that I didn’t want to be there. Snakes. “If I was the bus driver.* Guys used to break the light just so them are moving at another speed.” I went in and saw I don’t put myself out there. Cameron story. eating a bite of my meal (“…the male must dine lation.” I plan some payback. I can tolerate being laughing about his Attenborough impres- What else is there? touched by my kids. I was at the point where I would piss Malaya where actual British SAS soldiers are IV. let. from? An unconfirmed rumor and an anony- want them to come back?” mous source! But it doesn’t matter. trained with a former Navy SEAL even though requested psychotropic medication. How would we learn? And so one of Raemisch got his job because his pre. they could sleep. even with people I’m close to. Rage is loves. is his general population. The thing about going to prison the fray himself. and now is o∞cer picked me up. I’m brunette”—me—hugging. It is head where a cereal box should be. I look everyone in the eyes to size don’t. I look for in critical thinking. laughing. They had to spray some baby for. and all of a sudden I’m looking at a severed the Daily Mail published an account of him Violence has dramatically declined. Hiddleston Colorado is one of a handful of states that Rising: You grow a hatred toward people points out: That story is now part of the David do not release men from isolation directly in general that are outside of your group. lions.” months or years later. One day you’re among the square in the eye. politics. All I could Czifra: I anticipate that at some point. I heard too much noise out there. Twitter feed. but I haven’t always. this is like the 70th time he’s played a soldier. you look to the right. and sent me to the Greyhound sta.” In his recently paroled after seven years in solitary. because I can’t even talk to women. You’d get punished for that. his voice raw.500 in 2011. Nelson: My family took me out to a Hooters. “if your val- there’s a bunch of homeless kids. I thought about it constantly: I am nothing. ues are under attack. bathtub. man. 200 men in solitary Nelson: My girlfriend yelled at me a couple ing steak and broccoli. we cage and manacle him. I was in a store aisle. “I’d stand up and scream at the top of my body that wasn’t painful.COM MARCH 2017 . I get o≠ the bus. just bearing through. me $200. and bid- Evans: I’ll be released just shy of 75 years old. I getting a lot better. gave temporary. Earth II.. the SHU. cle about the rise of fake news and how David Raemisch installed. We can’t back outside. Which would be one thing if into society. the happened in the past year to the world’s most do was laugh. the time to talk about it. Look what’s burned rubber and left me there. If somebody goosed me. point. It was agony. they are: Most assaults happen in your clothes. I me a link to a Daily Mail article containing my lungs. you name it. the o∞cers will keep your lights on through moving at one speed and the houses behind the night. which we’d watch a bit of after din- This is the first paradox of solitary reform: the cleanest spot in your cell is your toi. And because that’s where you wash your sheets. It’s to be less. the state holds only 160 The first year I was out. alert. Koger: I’ll see a couple walking down the Tom Hiddleston!) ment to complete freedom.