"Every day I battle just to stay sane and keep my wits as others around me are broken down mentally… I have become extremely paranoid as I keep withdrawing from people becoming more and more antisocial as the time goes… If you are treated and you live like an animal, how long before you start to believe that you are no longer human?"
That's one of the things that William, a prisoner in solitary confinement at Montana State Prison told us about serving his sentence in isolation. He and other prisoners describe in their own words the daily despair in our online story, "Voices from Montana Solitary."
It's an ugly place to be in -- physically, psychologically and emotionally. Solitary confinement wears away at prisoners, causing long-term damage.
On Thursday, the ACLU of Montana is hosting a workshop at the University of Montana School of Law in Missoula to inform people about what locking people up in solitary really entails, how it harms them and us as a society and what we can do to reduce the numbers of prisoners incarcerated in solitary confinement.
Solitary Confinement: Overused, Cruel and Ineffective will feature Eldon Vail, former Secretary of the Washington Department of Corrections, who will talk about what that state has done to reduce the population of prisoners in solitary confinement and how other states can do the same thing.
We'll also watch the short National Geographic documentary "Solitary Confinement," to get a look at what happens behind the bars and how it impacts prisoners.
Attorneys can earn 2 CLE credits for attending.
Please join us Thursday, Nov. 15 at 7 p.m. in Room 201 of the University of Montana School of Law.