On providing a filament of hope for the men and women in the horror of long-term solitary confinement.
You're onto it Adam. The impulse to connect with and acknowledge those who have gone deep deep deep into shadow realm is a healing act for all involved, and a real step toward a larger healing.
I used to have my mailbox store guy Jason write out my envelopes 'cause my handwriting is so bad. I commented on how good his was. He scoffed and said "Have you ever seen the handwriting of inmates?" I loved the line and thought it was a great title for a short story collection, but now seeing Damien's letters I realize it is not just a great line/title, but true.
My god, Adam - this is heartbreaking and eye opening both, I'm almost in tears. Thank you for shining a light on this - 100% agree NOBODY no matter how heinous their crimes or how base their conscience deserves to be tortured in this or any other way. The corporate-speak of the architects of this atrocity (and it is) is just galling. I really admire your effort to give hope, and to posting about this.💛💛💛💛💛💛💛💛💛💛💛💛💛💛💛💛💛💛💛💛💛
If you would please, write to Damien: "I hope for an end to your suffering, that you feel a connection to the world, that you know peace. - Troy"
Beautiful and thought provoking. While reading your post, I found myself asking, "What have we become if we throw away a person's right to redemption?"
I just read the William Blake essay that Solitary Watch have on their site, as well as some of the comments below it, and I’m equally disturbed by both--it’s like looking into the very maw of human cruelty. ‘Barbaric’ would be my word. But I think I’d prefer to email you something to include for Damien.
Thank you for sharing, Adam. I wasn't aware of this program, but it's an important thing to be doing. I'm sure every letter is cherished and brings some form of hope and light.
Humanity at its finest. Simple. Kind. True.
Out of sight, out of mind - it shows how far away we have drifted from "the decent society". Thanks for putting it out there.
Unbearable. I just read William's testimony, his strength is quite amazing in the face of such systemic cruelty. What a poignant post, Adam, and a beautiful invitation to reach out against all dehumanising.
I'm going to do it too. Thanks Adam.
It makes me wonder what politician is angling to make us believe the death penalty would be kinder. No society can afford to have Disappeared people, the taint of that acts like shit in a glass of wine.
It is deeply troubling at how we as a country deal with punishment. Too often it seems people leave confinement worse off that they entered. And the demographics are a reflection of holes in our society. We can and must do better. I will sign up to try and inject a bit of humanity and have shared with a Facebook group of friends. Thanks for lighting the path.
There’s nothing new under the sun.
Thanks so much for sharing the Lifelines to Solitary resource. During Covid I was trying to do the same but the options I found online were for male convicts/male pen pals only. So hoping Lifelines is for all!
Wow, I did an interview on a program pairing people in custody with a program growing sage to save a dwindling ecosystem, and Troy pointed me to this piece. I'm so glad he did. Thank you for sharing this practice, Adam. Thank you for shedding light where there is little. To your pen pal, I say may you feel the connection between us all. May you know you are thought of and your heart held.
This post seems to have popped up randomly. I’ll take it as a sign. Of course I have thoughts about the A&E firm (I refuse to dignify what they do as architecture). I wasn’t surprised that they don’t make it easy to find their prison projects on their website. 👿
In late 2020, after the upheavals of that year, our professional organization updated their code of ethics, which I found by googling “AIA code of ethics prisons.” (Example article: https://deathpenaltyinfo.org/news/national-architects-association-amends-ethics-rules-to-prohibit-design-of-execution-chambers )
From the article: “AIA prohibits the design of a space intended for ‘indefinite or prolonged solitary confinement of prisoners for 22 hours or more per day without meaningful human contact, for more than 15 consecutive days.’”
I’m inspired by your correspondence with people in solitary. I’m going to look into it. Thank you for shedding light on this.