Giving Compass' Take:
- In the United States, teen inmates can be placed in solitary confinement without resources and without process. One teen shares his story.
- What are the long-term effects of solitary confinement on developing teens? How can the system be improved to increase safety and reduce damage to imprisoned teens?
- Find out why solitary confinement is a public health crisis in the U.S.
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I had only been in jail a couple of weeks before I got into an altercation with another inmate and they took us both to the SHU — that’s the Special Housing Unit, also known as solitary confinement.
My cell was filthy dirty, and there were other prisoners yelling at me. But I wasn’t even thinking about those guys—I was just looking around. There was a metal sink connected to the metal toilet, a metal plate mirror on the wall, a metal bed with a thin plastic mattress and a blanket, and a metal desk with no chair. That was it. And I had no idea how long I would be there: I had to wait until a disciplinary hearing to find out.
Outside of the SHU, I would go to school, church services and other programs during the week. But when I was sent to the SHU, each time at my disciplinary hearings they told me I wasn’t allowed to go to programs while I was in there. Instead, a teacher would come twice a week and bring a manila folder filled with worksheets, newspaper articles, crossword puzzles and word searches to my cell.
They wouldn't even collect it when they came to bring the next packet. They didn't grade it or nothing; I never received any teaching, no schooling, in the SHU.
Read the full article on solitary confinement for teens by Jordan as told to Taylor Elizabeth Eldridge at The Marshall Project.