My Night in Solitary Confinement

By Dianne Frazee-Walker

It’s a typical dreary January winter morning at a Colorado state penitentiary.  Sounds of shackled feet are heard shuffling down a long dark hallway that leads to solitary confinement, also known as Ad Seg. The only background noise is the chilling sound of howling disgruntled inmates. His arms handcuffed and his legs shackled, Rick makes his way to solitary confinement, a place where time stands still and the mentally sane can be driven into the world of insanity.  

A mesh bag filled with toiletries is the only item the correctional officer brings to cell No. 22 where Rick will be confined for the next 20 hours. Toiletries are the only items permitted in the 7 by 13 ft. tiny cell, scantily furnished by a small cot, sink, and toilet all made of cold steel and fastened to the floor.

Rick will have to survive in his cell without any type of entertainment including books, magazines or television. In “Removed From Population” (R.F.P.) inmates are not allowed these items. However, in regular Ad. Seg. inmates can pass the time watching T.V. and reading books.

After a lingering stroll to the cell where Rick will spend time in solitary confinement, correctional officers remove his shackles and slam the heavy steel door behind him. Rick experiences one moment of silence before his feed tray door is banged open and he is ordered to place his hands through the narrow opening and his handcuffs are abruptly removed. The reality of being in solitary confinement settles into Rick’s mind.

Rick hasn’t even been charged with a crime. But, he will only spend 20 hours locked in the dismal cell located on the second floor and he requested his extended visit at the Colorado penitentiary.

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