Feb. 19th, 2014
Victorian courts have been told of young offenders being held in 22-hour lockdown. What's it really like in isolation? Andrew Purcell looks at the situation in California where prisoners are kept in solitary for years at a time.
''Listen to me. Put away your preconceptions.'' Terry Thornton, a spokeswoman for the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, is explaining that reporters often make the same basic mistake. ''We don't have solitary confinement in California state prisons.''
She then describes a penal system in which almost 4000 men are locked up indefinitely in cells the size of a city bathroom. ''There's no sensory deprivation. They go to the yard every day.''
This is for 1½ hours, alone, in a lot with no view. ''There are skylights in all of the Security Housing Unit po…